“Would you like some milk?”
“What?” I replied following a pause. After the long, torturous drive from Wanaka to Dunedin, it took a while to process anything. The roads in New Zealand range from curvy to torturous to slightly suicidal, the Kiwi engineers going with the mentality of “over and around” rather than “through.”
Sure, sure—over and around is a fine mentality in places like Kansas, where there’s one hill and one medium-sized lake, but with as many mountains as New Zealand’s south island has, you feel like you’re following some two-year-old’s attempt at finding a way through a restaurant menu maze.
“Oh like milk from a cow? Naw, I think we’re fine.”
“Are you sure?”
She gave me a questioning look.
“Well, I guess we’ll take some.”
She sure was insistent. After disappearing into her house for a moment, she returned with a bottle.
“Straight from the cow,” she said upon handing it over. “And we have some coffee too, if you’d like that.”
These Kiwis were our Airbnb hosts, who I had turned to after I tried (and failed in a spectacular manner) to find a vacancy in a Dunedin hotel. Airbnb was my father’s suggestion, who mentioned it after I stated that I would hurl my computer at the nearest small child if some hotel didn’t get its stuff together and give us a room.
Immediately, I was impressed with Airbnb’s website because it looked—if such human qualities can be applied to websites—sexy. It seems rare, even these days, to find a beautifully designed website. Oh the situation is certainly better than twenty years ago, but Lord Almighty, look at Yahoo! or Orbitz; they’re built by Microsoft engineers stuck in the ‘90s, an era of so much bricky crap I feel like I’m at a flea market.