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Where's Jonny? Care to dine with me? You would think that 11 years of daily food tasting for a living might put me off?......au contraire! Chomp away with me across 6 continents. Seduced like a bloodhound to the scent of good food, I anticipate the misty waft of steaming broths, the satisfying crunch of mudbugs and the vibrant aroma of freshly pulverised lemongrass. Buon appetito

rickshaw scumbags

CHINA | Thursday, 8 March 2007 | Views [1337] | Comments [2]

I was ripped off today in an organised scam.

What annoys me most is that these TOSSERS prey on tourists or weak individuals, not that I'm the latter.  However, I was actually very tired and hungry.  It was my first day walking the streets of Beijing and I spent a few hours in the Forbidden City.

I grew hungry by around 2pm and left to find a restaurant.  As it was the first day I was looking for a menu that was written in both languages so I could quickly order what I wanted.  This actaully a challenge unless you're in a really touristy area.

I wandered along immensely widestreets close to hutongs (ancient dwellings) having tried several restaurants which were now shut.

At this point I was approached by a villianous crook on a rickshaw who said "Forbidden city?"  I said, "no thanks, but how about some food and I simultaneously gestured fingers to my mouth."

He immediately said yes and I asked him how much, not caring about where he took me.  I generally eat most things.  He put three fingers in the air and said, "three."

Three yuan is about 20p so alarm bells should have rung really.  I offered to pay immediately but he was insistant that I did not pay up front.

I got on the back of the rickshaw.   Five minuets later, another rickshaw came alongside and surprisingly the men swapped.

Did the new rider know that I had negotiated three yuan?  He nodded and pointed and pretended not to understand.

He stopped around five minutes later outside a rough looking restaurant and got out a card.  On the card it said 300 yuan.  I smiled and explained that his friend said three yuan and had not shown me any card.  He spoke only in Mandarin and became annoyed with me all of a sudden. 

Then, a "passer by" who spoke some English piped in and started negotiating with the driver.  I am now certain that this is his 2nd accomplice and that the original driver had called him to arrange where I was going to be dropped off.

The new guy explained to me that I must pay 300 yuan (20 GBP)  This was an extrortionate sum but I knew they were deliberately going to intimidate me.

I offered 100 which was given a disgusted look.  When the dialogue was starting to become more heated the other man said 250 - final.  I realy didn't want it to end in violence.

So 250 yuan is what I ended up paying.  I felt terrible and a stupid fool.  I hate paying these scum money for the pleasure of ripping me off.

A multitude of, "what ifs" went through my head althiough I know at the back of my mind that paying was the best option.  I also see the experience as one that will help me avoid similar situations.

Tags: Scams & Robberies

Comments

1

Hey,
what a bummer! Stuff like this happens all the time when you travel. All I can suggest is to put it down as part of life's rich experience and remember that 20GBP isn't such a huge sum once you return home.

I have so many tales like this .... sigh.

  simon_monk Mar 9, 2007 10:57 AM

2

I can't believe you didn't recognise me under the large brimmed straw hat, slanty eye liner, fake mandarin accent and fu man chu style stick on tache' still thanks for the £17.

Pleased you're having a good time Jonny, have to say I'm far happier here in Hull selling sausages to people.

keep up the good work - terrible gag about the national elf service.

You will be delighted to know old traditions die hard, I told the John Wayne gag at a family meal last weekend. Mother totally misunderstood the you don't scare me/ hard individual nature of the gag.

I started on the shit box gag but dad stopped me. It was for the best.

Goodbyeeee

  marcus Mar 16, 2007 7:13 AM

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