A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Scammed in Istanbul

It was bound to happen. But somehow I thought it would be different. Something lifted from our room. A diversion on the street masking a pickpocket. I won’t go in to all the gory and, as you would imagine, embarrassing details but will give you the gist. I was taking a nap and Ron went out to take photos of the city. A local struck up a conversation with him and then asked if he wanted to go have a drink. Apparently there were women in this bar. Not naked women or women on stage, but dancing together on the dance floor, which is normal in the west but apparently there are no “girls night out” in Turkey. After the drink, a single drink mind you, the bill came for 1000 YTL (that’s over $700)!!!

Apparently this is some well known scam they play called “let’s have a drink” to get a single male traveler alone in a bar and threaten them with a ridiculous bill. Even the police are in on it and will only help you recover some of your money pocketing the rest. The sad thing is that I read about it only a week beforehand and didn’t think to mention it because it seemed like a far fetched scenario since we are usually together. So in the end Ron had to cough up a` couple hundred bucks so the 3 big guys at the bar didn’t rearrange his face.

The worst part isn’t the money it’s that our whole sense of safety has been shaken. Ron was basically robbed under the threat of physical violence. Now everyone is a scam artist. Everyone is trying to rip us off. Our whole view of the country just got flushed down the squatty potty and that really pisses us off!


emiko July 31, 2009 at 8:09 PM  

Oh, man...THAT is a major bummer. So sorry to hear of this. I bet Ron was pretty shaken by this experience. Well, be safe & alert...and don't let this put a damper on all the positive experiences to be had. ;)
hugs to you both...from northern cal!

Anonymous August 2, 2009 at 7:28 AM  

Sue & I got scammed in Mexico!
We bought a round of drinks for our friends at Squid Row and got charged for a round for the whole bar! It can happen to anyone.
Be safe, Rock n Sue

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