News - May 11, 2011

Tips for being a reliable host in Netherlands (Ⅰ)

Thursday's Liberation Day, a free forest party on Saturday night, Mother's Day... I enjoyed an eventful time last week. I even masterminded a surprise for my Mom's birthday on May 1st. But today I'd like to share another story with you, which taught me 'a lesson' on how to be a qualified host in Netherlands.

I witnessed a fantastic Bevrijdingsdag
Last Saturday, my friend W, a Chinese girl who studies in Denmark, flew to Netherlands with her friend Z. We arranged to meet in The Hague on Sunday and she promised to contact me once she arrived in Amsterdam.
Her flight landed on Schiphol at round 7.00 so that I had to get up early and waited for her call. However, I got no message from her all day long. I sent a message to her Danish number but no delivery report was received, which indicated her SIM card was not available in Holland. We were out of touch. Actually I didn't worry about them since Netherlands is such a small country that they wouldn't get lost. The only pity was that our appointment in The Hague had to be canceled.
At around 20.30 on Sunday night, my phone rang. A call from Z! 'W and I strayed in Rotterdam and now I'm in an inn near Amsterdam Centraal,' she said. Further she asked me for the address of the hostel which W had booked. 'What I know is no more than you,' I said, 'I suggest you stay in there, send your address to W and wait for her reply. ' Just in case, I even left my address with Z. In the next few hours, I did nothing but refresh my Gmail inbox every 15 minutes hoping to get news from W. Thank goodness, an email from W came around 23.00: 'I'm back in AMS, I will go to meet her ASAP.' Meanwhile, Z somehow told me she left there 5 minute ago. I really wanted to throw her an F-bomb. As expected, W complained she couldn't find Z. I asked W for the address of the hostel she booked then sent it to Z. 40 minutes later W emailed me again, 'She's here now.' Finally I could relax a bit.
Later on we appointed to have dinner together at my home on Monday. 'You'd better buy a pre-paid card and take the train around 16.00,' I gave my last suggestion before sleep.
But it's only halfway through the story. To be continued next week.

To save your time, you can just skip the story above and read these tips:
1.       Never overestimate your guests
Impossible to get lost in Netherlands? Nothing is impossible. As a host, you are supposed to send as much info as you know to your friends in advance. Make your 'Netherlands for Dummies' for them.

2.       Force your friends to buy a prepaid card.
W told me she had tried endless times to call me in the telephone booth. But the machines told her my phone was busy or invalid. Who can tell me why? Anyway, a €10 prepaid card makes your journey easier and happier.

Know more than your guests
I was surprised how Z didn't know the address of the hostel they booked. Whatever, it turned out to be important to ask my guests for their itinerary, including time and place.

Video of the Week: Dutch 101