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Avoid the Balinese "Tour Guide"

November 30th, 2010 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Avoid the Balinese "Tour Guide"

tour guideEven though we use the Balinese example in the title, the “tour guide” concept is one that unwary travelers run into around the

world. Could be Cairo, Calcutta, Sydney, or Tokyo. Anywhere there is a tourist to be found, expect to find an enterprising local ready to separate him from as much of his dinero as possible. Think what you will of the practice but it takes two to tango. It’s one thing, clearly criminal, to slip something into a new arrival’s drink and disappear with a wallet but it’s a slightly lighter shade of gray to spin an ever-widening tale of woe until they simply hand over the money.

We’re not here to tell you what to do, only to alert you to one sort of scam you might encounter whilst jetsetting around the planet. Where does the tour guide come from? You might have a “chance” encounter on the beach or perhaps walking down the street outside your hotel. Keep in mind this accidental meeting is anything but. Tourists are usually easy to spot, especially when they emerge from the swankiest hotel in town and begin wandering in ever-widening circles, desperately in search of a clue.

That’s when the fetching young lass or handsome young man strikes up a conversation with you. Nothing high pressure and not even a hint of money. Just a couple of people passing time on planet earth. By the time the conversation turns to the fact that you don’t have the slightest idea of where to go or what to do for a good time, you trust your new friend completely and are eager to jump at the offer to show you around, with only a token payment accepted for their time.

As the day wears on, the list of terrible troubles begins to emerge. It appears your guide has an uncle with a heart condition and incurable rash; a mother with two left feet who constantly fall on her right side until the operation can be afforded; the younger brother who was run over by a turnip truck. And gosh dang it all, if the local job market ain’t in the toilet. After a few hours, your “guide” will feel you out to see if you might be amenable to paying a small bill, maybe his telephone is overdue. If you agree, it’s game on from there on out. This friend will milk you for every ever-loving cent you’ll throw his way.

Our advice is to ask the hotel for a tour guide. Holding out hope to experience the real flavor of a city can end badly. Stick to trusted sources.

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