Traveling is completely an out-of-comfort-zone experience. It should be that way or else it’s just comparable to stepping out of your front door (or back door….well, you get the point!). Here are some of my unforgettable experiences while traveling abroad. (Long post!)
Scammed in Thailand
We all have different reasons why my parents and I went to Thailand. Dad’s gonna relax; Mom’s gonna shop; and I’m going to explore. For a win-win travel itinerary, we’ll do everything together.
My Dad already relaxed. Mom already shopped. And now it’s my turn.
Prior to our travel, I have planned on going to the Great Palace. While we were walking outside the palace, we saw a flock of pigeons nearby. You know how it is for Filipinos watching romantic European/American films, they love the pigeon scenes. Who doesn’t?
For experience sake, we went a little closer to witness the flock of cute little birds on a cozy park just waiting for someone to feed them. Next to the birds are a couple of old ladies, probably the same age as my sweet grandma. They were offering us dried corn kernels to feed the birds. They gave me and my dad 2 packs each, while my mom prepared for the camera for souvenir purposes.
“How much for the pack?” I asked the old lady.
“Just take it”, she answered.
“Wow. Thanks!”, while amazed that they actually gave us corn kernels to feed the birds. I thought it was brilliant that the management of the park actually give tourists a chance to do this. In Singapore, as much as I wanted to feed the pigeons, I can’t; it’s against their law.
“Okay dad, you first”
My dad enjoyed the whole thing. He was like a scare crow in the middle of the fields. Instead of crows, he was surrounded by aggressive and hungry pigeons. He can’t help but laugh because of the ticklish sensation caused by the birds. My mom caught it on video.
So its my turn to experience the thrill..
As I opened the pack of corn, the birds suddenly attacked me in a cute way. Overwhelmed, I accidentally dropped the pack. The experience lasted about 5 seconds (or less).
What’s the catch? What’s the scam?
When we’re about to leave, the old lady who gave us the packs of corn suddenly transformed from a sweet grandmother to an ogre (hyperbole).
“Pay the corn!”, she said agrily.
“What? You told us it’s for free!” I shouted back, forgetting that I compared her with my sweet grandma.
“NO! 100 Baht per pack!”, she insisted.
and that’s it. We paid 50 Baht per pack.
“Thanks for the bloody discount you asshole!”, I whispered.
I am not that sure if this was a scam until I googled it back in our hotel. Well, it was still a good experience. At least, we have a story to tell and a warning to spread.
Cursed in Macau
“Take us here”, as I showed the Chinese characters printed on a piece of paper to our taxi driver. This will take us to our old-school hotel in Macau, Sanva Hotel. I chose this hotel because it’s the oldest hotel in the island. Macau is known for its 5 star hotels and casinos and was dubbed as the “Las Vegas of Asia”. So for us with no budget at all, it’s nice to shout “Screw the five stars, we will go for the haunted!”
Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the friendly receptionist. He’s a 70-ish Macanese.
“Hello there, I am Darby and this is my friend Glaiza. Here’s our reservation number as emailed by your technical staff”, I said while giving him the same paper I showed to the taxi driver.
“Ok. Passport please.”,he answered and took the reservation log book out of the drawer. After confirming our reservation, the receptionist gave us our key and showed us our room. He then smiled at us and bowed. Receiving such gesture (even as a simple smile, a wave or a hand shake) as a sign of welcome means a lot.
After settling down, Glaiza and I decided to see the city at night. We went out and talked to the kind and gentle receptionist and asked for directions.
“Hello again. We will..go..outside..for a walk. We will…arrive..late.” I slowly muttered these words knowing he doesn’t understand English. I showed him a map I got from the airport and pointed at the town square, hoping that he could at least give us a simple direction on how to get there. Unfortunately, he answered us in Cantonese and we just pretended that we understood him.
He waved at us as we left and we received the Macanese smile.
Since it was winter, we were able to walk around the city without really getting tired because of the new weather we’re experiencing. We were a bit worried that our hotel will close its gate because it’s already 11pm and were still exploring the place. But then, we have decided to go back just to be sure.
Upon arrival, our fear of getting locked out just happened. We knocked a couple of times. Then suddenly, an old man appeared.
“Great. Glad it was the receptionist guy.”, I whispered to Glaiza and sighed.
From afar, he looked like our good-old-receptionist. As he came closer, it was a different guy. He’s old, but he looked grumpy. He opened the gate like there’s no tomorrow for us. I had goosebumps.
“This is our end”, I said to myself.
The new receptionist started shouting at us in Cantonese. Probably he is mad because we were late and we woke him up during a huge dream. I assumed that this guy’s the night shift guy, while the other is the morning shift guy.
“!@#$%^&*(*&^%$#@!#$%^&*(*&^”, he continued.
“Let’s just chill, Glaiza”, I whispered again.
“!@#$%^&* Filipinos @#$%^&*(#$%^&”
I may not understand Cantonese, but he just mentioned the word FILIPINO.
“PUTANG INA MO! (Your mom’s a whore!)”, I don’t usually curse and all, but I felt that its too much to handle. I’m not proud that I’ve said that, but I thought it was just fair that moment.
It’s bloody cold.
The last thing we need is a guy cursing us and the whole Filipino race.
While I was there, it’s a bit scary. Now, it’s just something that we laugh about. And again, at the end of the day, we have a story to tell.
To the receptionist guy, I’m sorry if I cursed back. *winks*