As I mentioned in my previous post Living A Nomadic Lifestyle Help X is something that has helped me out on occasion. The concept of Help X is that you live in someones house in exchange for helping them out so for example cleaning, gardening and general tasks. My partner and I were desperate for somewhere to stay and the only person who replied was, well, we shall call him Stanley. His profile checked out, he was a DJ who had just moved back from New York to his beautiful house in Sydney with a gorgeous water spaniel, he seemed like the perfect Help X host however this was to become the opposite.
Upon arrival on Friday night everything seemed normal, he had prepared a BBQ gotten drinks and we had a really nice evening getting to know one another. Saturday was spent at the beach with some beers, starting his car required a breathalyzer test however we overlooked this, putting it down to a mistake in his past. Day three started with downing champagne at 10AM and finished many bottles later with him screaming obscenities in the direction of our bedroom at 3AM.
We were headed to Fiji two days later so thought we should stick it out and on Monday we were required to drive him to his doctors appointment so we were committed. Monday morning arrived and the four of us piled into the car to start what I can only describe as a comprehensive street tour of Sydney with a sh*t faced tour guide.
We were going from Mosman to Bondi, a very traffic-full route at 7am on a Monday morning. Our tour guide directed us to the pub, to the bottle shop and back home on several occasions and myself and his water spaniel slid around in the back seat as my partner attempted to awaken the snoozing tour guide with sharp turns. Two hours later we arrived at our destination and after an aggressive performance from Stanley in the doctors surgery (turns out he didn’t actually have an appointment) he insisted we had breakfast at the extremely upmarket ‘Bathers Pavilion’.
Hat, sunglasses and spaniel in tow he waltzed into the venue demanding three Bloody Mary’s which quickly got corrected to one Bloody Mary and two cokes when he wasn’t looking. I must say Stanley really outdid himself, his irrelevant rantings and incomprehensible remarks upset the entire room of breakfast diners. He even went as far as to insult the French waiter with a childish comment about stuffing frogs legs into his mouth. Suddenly his stories about terrible behavior from Help X guests were starting to sound deluded and we knew the others had not been ‘kicked out’ as he had suggested.
In any case we arrived back at his in one piece and after screaming in my face for pronouncing David Bowie in a British accent and telling my partner that he was a nobody Stanley passed out on the couch. He never slept for more than twenty minutes at a time so we hotfooted it out of there with all of our gear. He woke up as we were leaving and screamed obscenities at us from the balcony, I decided to sacrifice my favourite jumper which remained inside, it would now live with the other left behind items of previous Help X guests who were just as quick to disappear. A strange homage to all the people who walked out on him.
We drove away with much haste and then came the onslaught of abuse text messages which were so incoherent all we could decipher was that he was going to report us to immigration. Needless to say we reported his behavior to the website as he had two girls coming after us. It was a sad experience as we had had a few discussions with him about changing his habits and trying to work things out but some people don’t want your help. His story now lives in the archive of crazy travel experiences and I am sure there will be many more to come!
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