As a Canadian, we (myself and Rebecca) believe in the goodness of people and generally I don't think twice to trust another person. Unfortunately, my trust threshold was gone way down.
I understand that as a traveler and a foreigner, we always have to be aware or on guard of our own selves. It is really unfortunate that this trip has made me loose my trust on other individuals.
We have travel to lots of countries where locals seem to be in the look out for "stupid" tourists. They seem to want to scam you at every opportunity. Sometimes the scams are very simple but other times they can get quite intricate. People will lie, cheat, flatter or use any tactic to get their hands on your money.
Some of the examples that I will mention seem to be in less developed or poorer countries. These people resource to everything even unethical techniques to make a living.
In Peru we had tour agencies telling us some of the things that the excursion included but it was untrue. In one case we did a 3 day hike to the Colca Canyon. The tour agency confirm to us that the guide was bilingual. That was not the case. If it was just me it wouldn't have been a problem (I am fluent in Spanish) but Rebecca is at a beginner level so she missed out in a lot because my translation didn't give the same effect.
Moroccan cities are very difficult to navigate, especially the Medina. When you got lost and it happens very often, locals approach you with the intent of helping you get to your destination. If you decline this local will say that they are not a guide and they don't want money. You agree to follow them and they take you in circles to make the journey seem extra long. And when you get to your destination, what you thought was a nice local turns around and requests money for their services.
So what has brought these feelings on and made me write this blog? Our recent event in Shanghai, China.
Before coming to China we have heard numerous times about the infamous "Tea Ceremony" scam. This scam consist of locals inviting you to a tea with a real tea master. At the end of the show you are slapped with a bill of astronomical value. They usually employ big guys to collect if you refuse to pay.
As we were walking around and looking at a map in People's Park a young couple claiming to be tourist from a different city approached us. We engaged in a very nice conversation for a while. They were so nice and easy to get along with. They really seem genuine. As the conversation was evolving the girl told us about a tea festival and offer us to join them for a tea showing. At that point my heart stopped. I really felt crushed inside after knowing a out the scam. I really felt a connection with these people but it was all a lie.
We know that as backpackers, these situations come with the territory. Yes, you have to be aware but you so want to believe in the good of mankind. Having to deal with events like theses make you lose that trust to the point that you don't trust anyone, even the nice people we've met. This trip has taught us many hard lessons. Despite everything we try to give people a chance.
If you would like to add your experience or have any comments please added to the comment section on this post.