That One Time Tye & I Were Totally Naive & Got Screwed: China Addition.
Please learn from our mistakes. That's all I have to say.
It was our first full day in Beijing and we were going to take the long walk from our hotel to the Forbidden City. It was maybe a 2 or 3 mile walk away. We were a little more than half way and a man on a type of rickshaw stopped by and said to Tye “Don't let the beautiful lady walk. Let me give you a ride to the entrance of the Forbidden City”. Flattery gets you everywhere, so we said how much and he said 25 yuan. Sounded good to us so away we went.
We were very close to the Forbidden City, but he drops us off in a dead end alley. And said 250 yuan please. I said “What? You said 25.” He said “No, you misheard me, I said 250”. Not wanting to fight with the guy I paid up the 250. Then he turns to Tye and says, “its 250 each”. Our first day in China, we were really unfamiliar with the currency, and we didn’t want to upset anyone so I dished out another 250 yuan and give it to the guy, so we could get out the enclosed area. We started walking away and after a few minutes of figuring out the currency conversion in our heads, we realized that the guy just made us pay an equivalent of 77 dollars. 77 dollars for a 1 mile ride that lasted less than 10 minutes!
We looked at each other with wide eyes, dumbfounded. But we both cracked a smile at the same time and laughed. Through our chuckles Tye says, “Damn, that guy totally hustled us”. We both agreed that he obviously needed the money more than us, and just shook our heads and tried to laugh it off as best we could.
He got us good, but it was a huge learning opportunity for us. If there is no meter on the bike, taxi, shuttle etc. make sure that it’s clear you and the driver what the final price will be. If they are unclear, just say no thanks and keep walking. They will straighten out real quick! :)