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Travel Scams and Swindles (3)
We continue our true confessions from travel junkies!
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Dangerous Places

There are dangerous places and there are dangerous places - and sometimes your own personal experiences can color your thoughts and opinion about a particular destination.

For example, a merchant seaman recounts that to him the most dangerous place in the world is Newport News, Virginia. It was the only place that he had ever been robbed and he has spent his life frequenting the seamier side of ports-of-call all over the world. But to him, Newport News was the most dangerous. An expatriate oil field worker relates that his hometown of Hobart, Tasmania (the sleepy island state to the south of Australia) is the most dangerous as it is the only place that he had ever been mugged, and he has been on oil fields in the Sudan.

So it is important to understand when you read stories about certain places that this may not be your experience. But forewarned is fore-armed - it doesn't hurt to know about other peoples experiences.


Stories from our readers . . . .

Third World Policemen

The hotel desk clerk gives you direction to the nearest ATM, and you need an early morning stroll. It's several blocks away, and you're not sure you've taken the right turn, but there are three guys in uniform carrying guns, walking up and down in front of a bank - might as well ask one of them.

Ignoring your question, he asks,"Have you got a Yellow Fever certificate?". This was one of those marginal things, and you cleared it with Health and Immigration when you arrived .

"No. They let me in at the airport without one because I came from Botswana."

"You must have a Yellow Fever certificate. It's an offence for foreigners not to carry one. You'll have to come to the Police Station with us."

The other two drop back, and your man gets confidential. He asks how many US dollars you are carrying...

How much you lose depends on your own acting skill and your luck. The street is empty and these guys are carrying AK47s. If you insist on going to the police station, they may give up - but you may just have to produce enough dollars to satisfy the guys at the station, too.

If corruption and begging are rife in a country, why expect policemen and security guards to be different? They're never one of society's highly-paid people, but sometimes they wield enough power to intimidate.