Replies: 11 - Last Post: Dec 10, 2012 8:13 PM Last Post By: linkirk
Dec 6, 2012 8:18 PM
Bodnath scamHey y'all, just a heads up on a couple of scam artists operating in bodnath at the mo. One is a guy who says he is a Tibetan refugee who is going to be sent back to face imprisonment and needs money to pay the guards. Hell engage you in conversation for quite a while about Tibet and the human rights situation and never come right out with it but will work around the subject in the hope you'll offer the 'bribe money'. But this is not the Nepalese governments policy they don't send people back so don't fall for it. The other is on the little street leading to sechuen monastery and dragon guest house you'll probably come across a very charming young Indian shoe repairer with withered legs, maybe sitting with a friend. They will happily chat to you for ages and are good company but will then invite you back to their house in the slum across the main road to have tea and meet his family ( little baby and blind wife). After you have had tea you will end up being asked for money or to buy them bags of rice and flour,, which leads to an extremely awkward situation. Up to you what you do. For sure this is a begging scam but the guy and his family are indisputably poor, and even scam artists have to make a living I suppose. It's not threatening at all, and you can just walk away, more of a guilt trip thing really, but much easier to avoid if you refuse the invitation to go to his house.
Dec 6, 2012 8:52 PM
1I had a similar situation with a Chinese guy around the Gateway to India in Mumbai. He rocked up and started chatting openly, spins the most convincing story ever that he is from Singapore and has just time in jail in Goa for MJ possession. Comes out with all sorts of really interesting tales and experiences from the jail and then slips in at the end that he is waiting for his Singaporean air hostess girlfried to send him an air ticket. However the police still have his passport and he needs to pay hefty baksheesh to get it back. I took it all in (although did not part with cash) and it was only when I got talking to some other realised he was actually native to Mumbai and family had lived in the city for generations. ScamArtist!
Dec 6, 2012 10:09 PM
Dec 6, 2012 10:20 PM
Dec 7, 2012 12:28 AM
Dec 7, 2012 1:01 AM
5Scam maybe an over-used word but the Indian shoe shiners around the stupa are scammers: 4 or 5 of them with the same story, same name and it would not surprise me if they took people to the same shack and same wife. A polished routine, unlike my shoes because the two who worked me didn't have a shoe shine kit and couldn't explain why.
Poor yes, buy rice if one wishes but see it for what it is, a scam.
Dec 8, 2012 2:14 AM
6There are scams wherever you go. I lost count of the people in India who needed money to educate their daughters! (I'm an older woman and can only assume that they thought this the issue most likely to tug at my heartstrings!). Nor the little boys wanting school pens - they'll take you to the shop if you let them, and if you buy, then they sell them back to the shop - and everyone wins (except you, if that sort of thing upsets you.)
I chat when I can, and sometimes I get caught, and sometimes I don't. It's not worth losing sleep over.
Dec 8, 2012 5:44 AM
The pen sell-back is is similar to the baby milk one where (usually) a young girl with a baby asks for milk powder and sells it back to the shop for half price (so I was told). The really heart tugging line, after declinong to give money, was "please give me money or I will be beaten" (there was woman controlling the begging outside the stupa entrance).
Dec 8, 2012 9:14 AM
8Scams and beggars....I've had people, poor people take me back to their homes for dinner. I always expect to pay something for the privilege. Mostly their pleas for help from someone they regard as unbelievably rich, I got there didn't I, are based in reality even if the story is embellished.
Early on I make sure I know a bout what a day's wages are in the area and slip them that. The night clear at the hotel in Gaya took the day to be a guide and translator and then took me home for dinner and tried to get me to buy him a car. I gave him 500 rupees. He would have liked $1,000 but was happy with more than two days pay. Generous but not outrageous.
Some snake charmers in Delhi took me off and did a one hour show for me, we took photos, they draped a live cobra around my neck and wanted 1,000 rupees each for treating me to a cobra necklace I had been vigorous trying to decline.. I gave them a couple of hundred rupees and treated them to what was supposed to be a couple of chappatis and quickly became a 3-course curry, to which they invited me. Then they invited me home (no money) t see their king cobra.
Getting cheated on tour, train or bus tickets I am very cautious of. Some other things, well, you are paying for your adventures.
Yes my friend Maqbool hopes I will buy a shawl from him after dinner...and he once sold me some used tribal carpets that aren't worth much more than I paid but some friends here treasure them and silk ones he sold me are worth 10 times what I paid.
I don't take tours much but I will find out how much a tuk tuk driver ears in a day and how much he pays for his tuk tuk and offer him double for a day to find me three places no tourist will see -- he took me across a river to where they make mud cups for the railway, to a funeral and a rag market. Not one white face that day. He earned a 100 rupee trip.
Did my fisherman friend Kassi con me out of $500 rupees to help him get a bus to see his sick child. I don't know. I paid him the $500 for posing for some astounding photos to go with a great story about his life...
I once took a photo of cotton candy seller and did not have any money to give him. I now don't go out with a hundred rupees in coins, beggar money. I pay a hundred for a photos if I may sell it or use it in a magazine article. A doctor friend uses my polio photos as a teaching aid and I took the money she gave me for them and gave it away to polio victims, including some of those in the photos, next trip.
sorry, I do prattle on...
Dec 9, 2012 1:34 PM
9Some interesting stories - as pointed out there are many different types of "scams" in most (if not all) third world countries. Before getting too upset its worth remembering that all western travelers are incredibly wealthy compared to the average local.
For some reason nearly all the hustlers / potential scammers that I met on a recent trip claimed to be "shoe shiners".
Anyone have any ideas why?
Dec 9, 2012 1:52 PM
Dec 10, 2012 8:13 PM
11Theres a very interesting web site on the beggers of India, called "Kamats pot pouri of beggers"- worth googling.
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