Encounters: (Episode 4: Hey Lady... Shady Lady!)

Bangkok Travel Blog

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pic taken by the shady lady aka scam lady in the wat
Binky and I would both have to agree that the highlight of our Bangkok visit was our encounter with this woman at Wat Mahatat.

As we entered the temple courtyard, there she was, a chubby woman wearing the colors of the King - big smile and all!

She approached us talking in thai, we corrected her and said we are from the Philippines. "philippin (pointing to binky). i thought thai. thai and philippin same-same" she said, followed by an annoying giggle "heeheehee!"

She claimed to be from Chiang Mai and is on vacation in Bangkok too. She told us her name, but all I can remember is that the last syllable was "chai". she also told us that we can't enter the temple because we're not properly dressed. This made me somehow suspicious because (1) we were dressed decently - perfect for any temple in the city and (2) the last time i was in Wat Mahatat, I just rented a white robe from the centre. She motioned us to follow her inside and since she can get us in without any problem.

As we entered the temple, she reminded us to be quiet. "shhh.... meditating... heeheehee!" she said. We sat down by the altar were she began her spiel about her life. As she finished, she asked about how we find Bangkok:

woman: how many days in thailand already?
us: 2nd day today.
woman: how long you stay?
us: 10 days.
woman: first time in bangkok?
me: my friend, first time. me, many times.
woman: in thailand we say sawasdee kah to greet. in philippin how?
us: "Kamusta"

woman: have you been to Chiang Mai?
us: no
woman: SUS! (she wipes her face with a sense of disbelief and disgust). Have you been to ayuthaya?
us: yes. yesterday.
woman: have you been to kanchanaburi?
us: no
woman: SUS! (again, she wipes her face with a sense of disbelief and disgust). have you been to pattaya?

that part of the conversation went on in what seemed like forever, just substitute the place name with something else and we would just give her "no" for an answer. Now that i think about it, we should just have said "yes" all along to shut her up. she continued:

woman: have you ride boat in chao phraya?!
us: no.

that was her cue. she asked for our map and started marking places we should go to...

"hee is golden mountain. hee is happy buddha. hee is standing buddha. you tek tuktuk. tuktuk go around, tek you golden mountain, happy buddha, standing buddha, thai expot." she said while desecrating our map with her undecipherable handwriting.

she continued...

woman: what is your name?
my friend: Binky.
woman: him?
my friend: jeremy.

now i have a tattoo of my name written in thai on my right arm. she sees it and reads it aloud "JE-RE-MY heeheehee." She repeats it like 5 times: "JE-RE-MY heeheeehhee" "JE-RE-MY heeheeehhee" "JE-RE-MY heeheeehhee" "JE-RE-MY heeheeehhee". (how annoying). Now, aside from the fact that I have a short attention span and I get the feeling that there's a twist to all this, i stood up and took pictures. I left the agonizing conversation between her and my friend, but I can't help overhear her.

she asks binky: what is your work?
binky: i work in media.
woman: what about him? MOVIE STAR? (she calls me) JE-RE-MEEE! (points at binky) MEDIA! (points at me) MUVISTAR! (repeat countless of times) MEDIA! MUVISTA! MEDIA! MUVISTA! MEDIA! MUVISTA!... after that, she further terrorizes our map.

woman: so again, you go to golden mountain. happy buddha, standing buddha. then thai expot. and you can go to boat and go around chao phraya. it will take you here. here. here. here. it will go around for one hour.

us: how do we get to the boat?
woman: (repeat performance) go to golden mountain. happy buddha, standing buddha. then thai expot and you can go to boat and go around chao phraya. it will take you here. here. here. here. it will go around for one hour. (for the most part she kept on repeating this).
us: if we take the tuktuk how much do we pay?

woman: go to golden mountain. happy buddha, standing buddha. then thai expot for SU-FIFTY baht.

us: you mean FIFTY baht each?

woman: NO. SUVENTY-five plus SUVENTY-five I-SU-FIFTY bath.

us: seventy-five plus seventy-five. one fifty?

woman: SUS! NO! SUVENTY-five plus SUVENTY-five I-SU-FIFTY!!!

us: AH! 25 + 25 is 50!

Woman: YES YES! SUVENTY-five plus SUVENTY-five I-SU-FIFTY! (oh Lord)

i think it took her about 45 minutes just trying to convince us to take the tuktuk to the places that she mentioned for fifty baht. she even had us rehearse what we were going to say to the tuktuk... like binky would say the greeting. i would say where the tuktuk should take us. then binky would tell how much. etc... all of it she even wrote on our poor map, so we won't forget our lines. I already knew then that this is a scam. So I told Binky that we should think of a way to get rid of her without embarrassing her after all her efforts.

She escorted us outside endlessly repeating "MEDIA! MUVISTA! MEDIA! MUVISTA!" until we reached the gate where she had a tuktuk ready! She starts to tell him about our itenirary... of course that would be "goldenmountainstandingbuddhahaddpybuddhathaiexpot".

We started to make excuses telling her that we will do the tour the next day. But she insisted "NO, only today. tomorrow cannot be."

"WOW! A Limited edition tour" I said to myself.

Now it's really time to get away.... far away from her. I told her we were going to the mall to meet with friends for lunch. As soon as i said that, she walked away pissed-off. I mean why not, we wasted 45 minutes of her precious time. She did all the stunts for nothing!

As soon as we got inside a cab, we burst into laughter. We couldn't even sleep that night because we kept on replaying the scenario and acting it out.
Abidos says:
This happened to me so many times in BKK, everyone wants to put you in a tuk-tuk with a series of sites, all ending in a visit to a store ;)
Posted on: Apr 29, 2011
jaeWALK says:
christopher, do not be scared. it's all about presence of mind and being aware of your surroundings all the time. if someone approaches you and offers you something to good to be true, it probably is. haha! of course you can just ride along for the experience and firmly say "no" in the end.
Posted on: May 15, 2009
kokfoo83 says:
omg.....it getting me scarry cos i going to bkk on dec 09
Posted on: May 14, 2009
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pic taken by the shady lady aka sc…
pic taken by the shady lady aka s…
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