The unsuspecting tourist

You need only read a little of my other blog… the one I wrote while spending three spontaneous months in South East Asia (the time there was spontaneous, not the spending of three months there. That was a thought-out calculated decision. Obviously.) to know that being scammed is part of my travel itinerary.
In Thailand it comes with the territory. There are blog posts that talk about the infamous “I’m a lawyer/teacher” scam, the “2 baht tuk-tuk ride” scam and the “this bus is for locals” scam and we fell for them all. Thailand properly dominated the Hawks when we were there the first time.

But this holiday – we were expecting something a little different. And Thailand delivered. No tuk-tuks, no tour operator haggling, no scams. 13 days of 4 & 5 star bliss (minus the small hiccup of a bug and a fever).

It was Dubai that got us this time. Dubai, the city that took what it liked from around the world and made their own. Starbucks, Cinnabon, skyscrapers, beachclub bars, warm (ok hot) weather. Dubai the city that reinvented the word Mall and put the largest aquarium in the world in it. Dubai scammed us.

Walking out of Atlantis (after behaving like children on water-slides all day) we needed a taxi to the Dubai Mall. What we now know is this taxi ride should only cost around 30-40 dirham. A kind and generous woman asked us if we needed help and where we were off to. We told her (this, being a first world city and five star hotel and all). She said it was easiest in a taxi and quickly headed towards a beautiful merc that was patiently waiting for an unsuspecting tourist. I questioned her (aha, so my brain was on) that surely this would be a more expensive taxi than a normal city taxi (I saw one parked nearby I was about to head over to) but she assured me (assured!) that this was a metered taxi and would cost the same as any other taxi. She even asked the taxi driver to show me the meter, and switch it on.

We climbed in and had the most pleasant comfortable ride of our lives (Mercedez ofcourse) spending every last dirham in our wallet to get to the Dubai Mall. It cost us double what it should have.

Why? Why are there hotels or operators that allow reps to represent their hotel and blatantly lie to tourists who are just there to enjoy the city. Why rip us off?

It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when something like that happens. Yes, its only money and it really wasn’t that much in the greater scheme of things (when 20 dirhams buys you a coffee) but its just plain annoying that these days wherever you go, you aren’t able to trust the general ‘helpful’ person on the street.

Cape Town – I hope there aren’t reps like this commissioned by hotels to lie and scam tourists to our beautiful city.

That is all. Dubai was otherwise very nice 🙂

Kimhawk at Atlantis
Before the rip-off. Enjoying Atlantis 🙂

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