birthdaymug002My birthday gift.

Our daughter Mathilda made me this fantastic green celadon mug with sacred spiral design for my birthday. It coordinates perfectly too!

Booking.com: Bad for Renters, Worse for Owners

If you make a lodging rental arrangement via Booking.com, be aware that 15% goes to Booking.com. This both drives up the cost to renters and lowers owners’ profits.

If you’re a prospective renter the thing to do if you find what appears to be an attractive lodging on Booking.com is to do a web search on the place’s name. Chances are that you will find that it has its own web site and/or there is some way to get in touch with the owner via email or phone. Then you should immediately be able to negotiate at the very least a 10% discount from the price on Booking.com; a win/win situation for you and the owner. (I know a B&B owner who instead of jacking her price up on Booking.com simply does not provide breakfast to those who book with her through Booking.com.)

If you’re an owner, be aware that Booking.com (at least in the Caribbean and especially for non-Spanish speakers) provides the absolutely worst, laziest, most incompetent crew and difficult to deal with web site imaginable. You can be certain that your descriptions will be mishandled at best or simply made up and totally wrong at worst. They will have the site say you have air conditioning and TV after you tell them repeatedly that you have neither. (What is the owner to tell a disappointed renter?) Tell them you have a ceiling fan in every room and the web site will say that you “provide a fan”. Tell them the apartment has two verandas and a living/dining area and the site will say that it “has a seating area”. Tell them that area activities include ocean and river bathing, nature trails, and snorkeling and they omit all that and have the web site say you offer “fishing”! Email them and they don’t reply. Call them and they don’t take your call or return your call.