Scammed | Delhi, India
We got caught up in a scam on our fourth day in Delhi. A rickshaw driver promised to take us to one place and then tried to take us to another instead, no doubt hoping to earn a commission in the process. I was enjoying the ride through the chaos and smog when Darla told me she didn't think the driver knew where he was going. A quick check of Google Maps confirmed he was headed in the wrong direction—toward Connaught Place, epicenter of all tourist scams in Delhi. I made it clear he wouldn't get paid anything unless we made it to our destination.
At this point, much like a car salesman hands off a potential customer to his manager when things start to go sideways, our driver pulled over next to another group of rickshaws and gestured for us to get out. Another rickshaw would take us to our destination. The second rickshaw driver departed, continuing to take us in the wrong direction. When we informed this second driver that he would not get paid unless he took us to where we were promised he too pulled over and told us we needed to switch rickshaws.
As the third rickshaw pulled away, the driver informed us that he couldn't take us to our destination. This was a lie. When we insisted, he agreed and quoted us a price two and a half times what we were originally quoted. "No," we told him. "We will only pay the original price." This made him angry. He accelerated into traffic—still headed in the wrong direction. I demanded that he pull over, which he did. To my amazement (and amusement) he expected to be paid. He was not paid.
By this point we were within sight of Connaught Place and, once outside of the rickshaw, immediately set upon by one scam artist after another trying to con us into one thing or another. There was no chance we would get into yet another rickshaw so we decided to walk to our destination, now twice as far away as when we stepped out of our hotel.
Had we known then what we know now, we would have just called an OLA, India's version of Uber, but our ignorance turned out to be a blessing. By the end of the day we had walked seven and a half miles through the heart of Old Delhi—seven and a half of the most interesting miles of our entire trip.
©2017 Timothy Linn
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