Edinburgh Airbnb Host Raghu
愛丁堡又找不到Couch Surfing Host，又逼着住airbnb，唉，真係喊都無謂。
我真的很不習慣airbnb Host的想法，airbnb Host接待客人，擺明想賺錢，客人是誰不重要，最緊要有錢交租，airbnb Host雖不至巧立名目濫收費，但也必事事錙銖計較；Couch Surfing Host接待客人，完全不為錢，真心為了解異地文化，肯花時間了解客人，真的能從陌生人變成朋友；而airbnb Host，不由陌生人變為仇人，已是萬幸。
由於我在進行Project the Host Project，我問Raghua能不能讓我畫他，他說：「我好忙，無時間比你畫。」
深夜的愛丁堡機場很安靜，只有十多人在候機室，大家或躺在地上，或坐在椅上小睡；我躲進Costa Café，霸了一角梳化連餐桌，拿出畫具，準備畫畫（不過Costa Café整晚都播着輕音樂，挺吵……）。
I can’t find any Couch Surfing Hosts in Edinburgh again. I had to stay with airbnb again. Sigh. Poor me…
The airbnb Host in Edinburgh is Raghua. I knew Raghua is an Indian guy when we first met in Edinburgh because he didn’t have any photos on Airbnb. He was studying and working in Edinburgh and hope to migrate to UK in the future.
He said guests have to sleep in the living room on the airbnb webpage but he never said that he HIMSELF would sleep in the living room too. Raghua even FORGOT to mention that he had a white male nurse roommate in the apartment.
Raghua never lied but he just KEPT FORGETTING to mention things.
Raghua would make fried eggs for guests for breakfast for free. He put lots of weird spices on the eggs and I was coughing and sneezing straightaway. I had to force myself to swallow the weird-spiced-eggs…
The most interesting thing is, no sofa, no tables, no chairs in Raghua’s home. He would just put a piece of newspaper on the floor, put the plate on the newspaper, sit on the floor and eat.
I was really speechless and didn’t know how to react.
It must be a special, non-daily occasion such as picnic (on grass or on sand-beach) that people would have to sit on the floor and eat. I never thought of sitting on the floor and eat at home.
For what I had been taught in Hong Kong, it’s best to sit on a chair with table while eating or at least sit on a chair or a sofa. It was NOT PROPER to sit on the floor and eat at home from my experience.
Putting dog’s food on the floor, primitive tribe in forest was sitting on the mud floor and eat. These images flashed into my brain when Raghua put the plate on the floor.
I doubted for one second, ‘Is he insulting me?’
I knew it was really a normal habit for an Indian like him to sit on the floor and eat when I saw Raghua sitting on the floor slowly and eating his spiced fried eggs deliciously. It’s really an interesting cultural shock.
I found myself submit to an eating rule unconsciously. A place to eat had a different between decent (to eat with table and chair at home) and indecent (sit on the floor and eat at home).
I stunned when Raghua put the plate on the floor just because I was not eating in a proper ‘decent’ place as I always did.
Eating is not a simple thing indeed. No, maybe eating is simple, just human made it complicated.
No restaurants near Raghua’s place. I asked if I could cook at his home. He agreed. I asked if I could use the washing machine. He agreed.
He said to me in the last day of my staying, ‘I don’t usually let people use the kitchen and the washing machine. I let you use them for free. I was kind to you,’
What he REALLY said is: Please leave.
My next stop was Lisbon, capital of Portugal. My flight to Lisbon departed in Edinburgh at 5AM. Raghua hope I could leave before dark so he can clean the apartment for the next guest which he claimed was on his/her way already.
So I have to spend a night in Edinburgh airport.
I really couldn’t get use to airbnb. Hosts on airbnb host guests because they want money. It didn’t matter who the guests were as long as they could pay the rent. Although airbnb Hosts didn’t charge guests on weird terms but they put a great emphasis on money.
Couch Surfing Hosts host guests not for money but for a curiosity about foreign culture. CS hosts are more willing to spend time to talk to guests and would become friends from strangers easily.
It is a great luck for not turn to enemy from stranger for airbnb Host.
Good luck and bad luck always twist together. The most unexpected friends always meet in the most disappointed circumstance.
The most unexpected friend in Raghua’s crazy place was that unexpected white male nurse who I didn’t even know his name. I just knew he left early and return home late everyday.
I asked Raghua if he could be a model for me as I was doing the Project the Host Project.
Raghua said, ‘I am busy. I don’t have time for you to draw,’
I said quickly, ‘You don’t have to look at me. You just have to do your stuff and pretend I am not here!’
Raghua said reluctantly, ‘OK, you draw…’
Raghua wore an Indian trousers at home. It is easy to tell he’s an Indian in the picture. Not much furniture at home as he used bed as chair and a little table to put his computer. It was a bed for 2 guests if the mattress behind him were put on the floor. His place could host up to 3 guests plus my signal person mattress. Every inch in his apartment was surely not been wasted.
Although I did not get well with Raghua but I really satisfied with this picture. I tried to add a background in the picture for the first time and it turned out fine.
I higher the ceiling and pressed the character to wall to indicate that was a really small apartment…
I thought I drew for nearly 2 hours (the above picture). It was easy to draw Raghua because he was very concentrate on his computer and didn’t move much. We didn’t talk much because we had nothing to talk and it was even better for me because I could concentrate on drawing.
The roommate returned home as I nearly finished the picture. He opened the door and saw all my drawing tools scattered around the floor and had no room for him to step in. I was sitting on the floor and drawing. Raghua was peacefully sitting on his bed typing on his computer. He stunned and took a step back because of this non-daily special view. He looked SHOCKED.
He was like wearing an iron mask with no facial expression every time I saw him. That was the first time I saw some human emotion shown on his face.
He said, ‘What are you doing?’
I answered, ‘I am drawing ～’
INTERESTING was shown on his face. I asked him immediate, ‘Do you want to be a model?’
He SHOCKED again but he SMILED and agreed, ‘OK,’
He owned a room. He shut his room door completely and zero connect on the first night. He curiously half-opened the door and observed the drawing on the second night. He finally fully opened the door and I sat on the corridor to draw him reading on bed on the third night.
This picture took me nearly 2 hours (The picture below). He was easy to draw because he was concentrate on his reading and didn’t move a lot. He was the only model who I didn’t even knew his name or took any photos.
I higher the ceiling in the picture. A long ceiling pressed on a small figure. I want to show his loneliness and solitude in city. And I added a full-open door to memory a ‘human observer’ as I were.
I didn’t have a happy stay in Edinburgh. The weather was wet and cold and forever cloudy.
I was depressed in Raghua’s place. I had to listen to his snore every night (the place was really too small) even we had zero communication as strangers.
The roommate just showing his normal curious to my suddenly-appear-drawing but it really was a warm sunshine in the grey sad Edinburgh.
From a roommate that Raghua had to hide, to zero conversation, to ice-melting because of drawing and to smiling supporting. Art really had no boundary. I am glad that drawing could help me breaking ice and found support.
Because I was threw out from the apartment by Raghua in the last night in Edinburgh so I have to spend the night in the airport. I thought it would be tough but I was lucky to meet another unexpected friend in the airport：）
It was quiet at night in Edinburgh airport. Around 10 people were staying in the waiting room. They were lying on the floor or sitting on the chair for a nap.
I hide myself in Costa Café. I own a corner sofa with tables and took out my drawing tools and started to draw (But the light jazz music in Costa Café was quite noisy…)
That was my first time to spend a night for a plane in an airport. Actually I was quite excited. I drew Blood Slash and Thousand flowers blossom from the heart from the Final Evolution of Humans with this excitement.
Quiet night was always best to draw. And to my most luck, I met another unexpected friend in Costa Café!
A handsome waiter came to me. I was afraid that I was going to be kicked out again because I own 4 seats and 2 tables to draw.
The handsome waiter said to me, ‘Are you drawing?’
I said, ‘Yes,’
He smiled and said, ‘I came from Italy. I want to be a painter too but I gave up. You have to keep on!’
I was stunned. He was not going to kick me out but he encouraged me!
I asked, ‘Thanks…When do you close here?’
He smiled, ‘We opened all night. You can take your time to draw,’ he collected the empty coffee cup and leave.
I have met two most unexpected friend in Edinburgh who I didn’t know their names.
Drawing really connected people.
I was so glad I met them in the grey Edinburgh!
Life is intriguing. I drew most satisfied pictures in the saddest trip; I met the best model and the most dreadful host at the same time. Life is always full of surprises～!