I was talking the other day with friends about things that have happened to us on trips abroad. I thought I would share these stories because safety and security is always of the utmost importance when traveling.
First my story. I was in Argentina with my mother for a fabulous trip. We did a combination of home and hotel stays – of course, the best being the home stays. On one of our hotel stays we ventured out for a wonderful steak dinner. The cab pulled up in front of our hotel and I fumbled in the dark to slip pesos through the little slot in the window between us.
I do speak Spanish fairly well and the taxi driver kept telling me the money I was passing him was fake. Finally after passing him about $15 in different pesos, he asked for American dollars. He was then satisfied but I was fuming. I thought back to where I got the change in pesos – the restaurant where we ate. I knew that cab drivers hardly ever have change for big bills so I changed a bill out before we left.
I quickly ran to the front desk to tell my story to the hotel clerk. He called the restaurant and told them my story. The person on the phone assured us that the fake money did not come from them and that it was a scam by the taxi driver. It was so dark in the cab that I couldn’t see the bills very well. It turns out I was passing him “good bills”, he was in turn passing fake bills back.
Lesson learned – always get name and number of your taxi driver.
My friend – a rather large man – told me about something scary that happened to him while traveling. He was walking with a friend in Italy when a young man asked him for the time. Just as he looked he noticed they were being surrounded by a group of boys. My friend yelled hey as he noticed someone going for his friend’s wallet. They chased the kid and the group ran away. Crisis averted but it was close.
Lesson learned – always be alert when traveling – tourists are prime targets.