Day 032 – Let me show you Standing Buddha!
2008/10/05 § Leave a comment
Welcome to Bangkok. People here are very helpful, especially the Tuk Tuk drivers and other scam artists. It seems people who are here for the first time still can be fooled by there trickery and bullshit talk.
When they say some place is closed you could bet money that it is open. If they claim that something is far away, most likely it is just around the corned. When they tell you that you could take bus 51 it is likely that you could take kinda any bus but number 51. If they mention that they could take you to visit big Buddha or sleeping Buddha it is best to run!
But seriously, these guys sure have not improved their scam tactics since I was here last and why should they? It still works on surprisingly many people. When I arrived I met some French guys who wanted to throw their words of warning at me. They had been ripped of with one of the scams you read in every, really EVERY guidebook: they had been told that it was complicated to get to this place where they wanted to go and that they should book it in Bangkok. Additionally they were “advised” to buy entrance tickets and the like here as well, since it would be impossible to buy them at the actual attraction. Of course they figured later on that they could have done it much cheaper and that you can buy tickets everywhere…
Who falls for that? You may ask. I asked them, and not surprisingly they felt that this guy who ripped them off was kind and seemed honest. Well, what more than warnings in guidebooks do they need? On the other hand, it is a good sign that so many Europeans can be fooled this way. It might simply indicate that in Europe you will be treated with more respect than by some people here (though not always, I know, hold you fire! 🙂 )
Don´t get me wrong, I am not judging people who let someone rip them off, in fact I have been paying overpriced for stuff. And just the other day in Vietnam a taxi driver had a fixed taximeter. He wanted 30$ for a trip that should have costed no more than 6$ or so. I had only a 20$ note as smallest. Tough luck! Before he had tried to urge me to go and get the local currency (Dong) at a ATM machine. I could have been dumb enough to jump out of the taxi in the middle of the night just to see him take off with my luggage of course. I decided against it and still had to pay the 20$ in the end. Strangely he was not interested in giving me money back, the guy wanted even more and kept saying “more, more!”. Too bad my friend Björn had not told me how much the trip was expected to be, and I had not asked because he had specifically recommended the taxi as transport of choice. The scam was new to him, as he told me afterward.
So beware when taking a cab in Vietnam!
However, I have come to accept it as inevitable to be ripped of in some way when I am in a new country, especially when it is the first day. As long as I at least notice that I have been ripped of they usually do not manage to do it once more. And so also the French couple had learned from their experience in Thailand.
Sure, it is somewhat sad that in these countries you are always obliged to keep your eyes open. On the other hand it is quite harmless, if people charge you too much (which will happen at some point), as compared to assaults or the like. In that respect Asia is still rather safe for travelling.
Today I went to Wat Pho. I still love the Thai Wats most in the region. I think in general Thailand remains my favourite place amongst the ones I have visited now. The atmosphere, the architecture, the little craziness of the people who are at the same time rather friendly over all and the food. Thailand has a “snack-culture” when it comes to eating. People seem to ingest food all day long, and some of them also look like it! 😉