Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Singapore and scams

Singapore and scams

I only spent a couple of days in Singapore and to be honest they weren't much to speak of. Directions and I were not friends here, which is frustrating when it takes you 2 hours to find the Raffles Hotel! Find I did though, and Sev, a French girl I had met on the bus and who happened to be staying at same guesthouse as me, enjoyed our Singapore Slings. Since it took us so long to find the stupid hotel I didn't get to walk around and soak up the ambience as much as I would have liked too. I collected Jenna from the airport without problems and we didn't do much since she was quite jet lagged.
Flew to Indonesia and got through customs and into a taxi. As we wound through the hectic traffic I felt a thrill to be back in a place with crazy traffic, fruit stalls, and animals running amuck again. We arrive at the "hotel", which looked more like a residential apartment building. I am confused. We go in and nobody at the desk speaks much English but they say Mr. William, who is who we were suppose to meet. They tell me they are calling him. A woman approaches me and asks if I want to see the room. Where is William I ask? Oh, I work with him, she replies. Something seems...off...but I'm not sure how. We go up and she asks if we want the room and gives a price that is not what I had agreed to with William. I'm even more suspicious. Something's definitely wrong. But, I made a reservation and if we don't take the room I will get charged at this point, and I haven't seen any other guesthouses around. We negotiate a price for the room.
Jenna stays in the room to nap and I set out for a little sightseeing. Downstairs I run into William, who is wondering where we were. Turns out that woman doesn't work for him, she works for a rental agency and prays on confused tourists! Super! My first scam! I KNEW something was up! I  was super pissed and upset. Plus, I had started to reorganize my back so my stuff was everywhere. Luckily, William was very nice. We got moved into the new room (that we had actually booked) and he had maps and lists of places to see, plus, he refunded our money! Which was really, very nice of him. The lesson here is definitely to always trust your instincts, which I usually do, but felt very backed into a corner. Something that scammers are very good at doing. Oh well, it's the first and lasts came I encounter! 
Tomorrow we meet our group for the tour and set out for the rest of Indonesia!  

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