THE ASIAN SERIES PT11
I have been really looking forward to the Great Wall since I made plans to visit China. When I was in Shanghai, Steve Kerr mentioned that you can actually do tours which get you into North Korea! Something I really want to do but really don’t have the time with Japan already being booked in 10days time.
WHERE IS BEIJING?
Honey trap scam in Beijing
Checked into the Happy Dragon hostel and signed up for the Great Wall tomorrow. It’s not a tour as such but rather transport and food. Had a bit of time as it was still only 4pm so went to see Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, two huge parts of China’s history.
THE CAFE SCAM
Before coming to Beijing, I was warned countless times about the cafe trick. It’s where a woman would approach a foreigner and after a little conversation will ask to go for coffee to help with her English. She’ll then order a few drinks and leave for the bathroom at some stage but not return. You are then left with a bill of around $300 which you have to pay.
Walking off the tube I am immediately greeted by this woman. I know what the deal is straight away but she continues to talk asking where I’m from. ‘Ah the U.K.’ She says, ‘the land of handsome men’ oh here we go I thought. I honestly did want to go for coffee at a Starbucks or something as she wouldn’t be able to carry out the scam there but it was my first day and had things to do so told her I was away meeting my friend.
TIPS FOR TRAVELLING IN BEIJING:
- Be sure not to bring a bag with you around Beijing as you will be stopped and searched more times than enough!
- Be aware of scams, always suspect anyone who approaches you.
- Locals will try and take a photo of you without your permission, personally I don’t mind as the Chinese have been generally very nice. However this is up to you.
Not content with this and aroused by the idea she could possibly scam two foreigners, she asked where my friend was from. After telling her they were Chinese (I wasn’t meeting anyone) she turned around and walked back down to the metro. Which is if you think about it is bizarre as she just got off the train! Obviously in search of her next victim.
- Beijing means “Northern Capital”
- It is the 2nd largest city in China
- Beijing is one of 4 great ancient capitals of China
My luck had it that the square was closed but you could still see it. Its nothing special to look at but it’s the history and the events that have unfolded here which make it a place of interest.
In 1989, After Hu Yaobang’s death, many students took to Tiananmen Square to call for more freedom of speech and economic reform. After several months the demonstrations gathered nationwide momentum across almost 300 cities with many taking part in a hungerstrike.
The government were concerned that it was becoming a real political threat and on the 4th June sent the Military in to remove the protests by force killing demonstrators and bystanders in the process. Original figures by the government had set the death toll at around 300 but later estimates put this at over 2,000.
FORBIDDEN CITY & ANOTHER SCAM
Off to the Forbidden City after to find it was also closed! Wouldn’t have mattered as you need to bring your passport with you anyway. The same scam happened again on my way home with another woman, I just told her no before she had a chance to open her mouth. Definitely not as friendly as Xi’an so far.
- Have you been to Beijing, what did you think?
- Have you ever been scammed?
Let me know in the comments below . . .