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Trusting People In A Foreign Country

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Corzhens, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Member

    It is normal to be at a loss when in a foreign land so a tourist usually asks for information. The best bet is a cop in uniform who can readily give you the correct information you need. However, there are times that you have to rely on the first person you see especially when you are in a hurry. But sometimes you need to be discerning especially when the person would give you added information.

    When we were in Beijing and walking towards the Tiananmen Square, there were many people walking. We asked one guy if we were on the right path, he said yes and then he offered us a short cut. The square was just straight ahead so what shortcut was he talking about? And he clarified that it is a hassle to pass by the checkpoints. So we went with him on a detour and landed in an art gallery - he is an artist and trying to sell his art works. That means we were fooled by him in going to a wrong direction. Naturally we didn't buy and then we walked back to where we were before.
  2. Yes, I have faced this problem a few times. When I need directions, I just ask the nearest person available. However, I don't always get the right information. Once upon a time, decades ago, I wanted to go to the Singapore Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. I asked a policeman and got directed to the ambassador's private residence instead. Another time, I asked for directions at a busy bus terminal in Thailand. There was a place I wanted to go about a job. Apparently, that area was not serviced by regular buses. So I had to charter a light pickup truck which is called tuk-tuk. It costed me about $2.50. On the way, I couldn't help wondering if I had been scammed. After I had finished my business, I asked the owner of the company I talked to about getting back. She told me the same thing, which was to charter a tuk-tuk. So the information was correct in the first place.
  3. Valentino

    Valentino Member

    A friend once told me that once when he was living some place in the UK, someone who'd got lost asked him for directions to a school. He'd heard of the school but didn't know where it was. Rather than admit he didn't know where the school was, he lied.

    So if you are lost, either ask people walking their pets, security guards, cops or business people for directions. These ones won't lie.
  4. Miya

    Miya Active Member

    For me, it depends on the country. I very rarely ask random people on the streets though. I'll either ask the police/security guards or people who own shops on the streets. I feel like I have a bigger chance of getting an answer if I ask them.

    As for trusting people, when you're in a foreign country and don't know where to go, you don't have much of a choice. I probably wouldn't follow anyone though. I would ask them to point me in the right direction and then go myself.
  5. I am not too sure about the security guards or the cops but I would vouch for people with pets. That's especially so if you are a pet person yourself. Pet lovers seem to automatically belong to the same club when they meet. So if you are lost, you can't really go wrong with asking someone walking his pet. Don't try to touch the pet, though. Not all pets are good with strangers.
    Valentino likes this.
  6. reverserewind

    reverserewind Member

    Well, since some people have trouble trusting a foreign stranger it's kind of a mutual problem. Some people, in turn, do love them and even provide housing services for the for very little or even no cost at all. Anyway, you should have your trip planned well. That's the key.
  7. Valentino

    Valentino Member

    While there are some people who are kind enough to help stranger and even offer them a place to sleep, I think one should be cautious all the time anyway. Some could pretend to be nice so they can lure a tourist into their "lair" so they can rob him/her.
  8. To trust or not to trust. This is really a tough call to make. When you need help and there are no friends around to ask, you don't have much choice. However, you do have your reasoning faculties still with you. You can assess the information and make a decision. Maybe you should ask the children. Children are less likely to intentionally mislead you.
  9. Miya

    Miya Active Member

    Not really. People actually use children to help with their crimes now so it's not any safer asking children.
  10. Francis

    Francis New Member

    I always prefer using gps systems whenever am travelling. I don't easily trust strangers who might redirect you to unsafe places or through unsafe routes. You can also consider contacting notable travelling agencies to help you get around unless compelled to ask the locals about possible routes.
  11. Miya

    Miya Active Member

    I think the GPS is useful if you are traveling in a big city with signs to help you. If you're traveling to the countryside, the GPS won't be much help as signal is poor there and also streets are not as clearly labelled.
  12. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    For the most part I've never really had any bad experiences with trusting people in foreign countries. It can definitely be tough when you're in a new place and need to ask for help, but I do think that generally speaking the police can be helpful, or even the staff at your hotel. They're in the business of needing tourists to keep their jobs - so it's in their best interests to treat you right and help you out!
  13. Agreed. The staff in the hotel is there to make sure you will be happy to come back again. That's not to say that they are averse to making a couple of dollars from directing you to using, say, a taxi service, which gives them a kickback. I suppose that's part of the game.
  14. Ava

    Ava Member

    Trusting people anywhere is an issue these days. I think you have to use your common sense and stay aware. I recall my friend being scammed when we got pulled over on a scooter. The person said we had a problem with it and said he would go and get parts for us. I told her not to give him money, but she did. Of course he never came back.

    If I am lost I will ask an older person, given the choice as they are less likely to be in a hurry and have more knowledge usually besides the usual police or hotel staff.
  15. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Member

    I have to agree. With the prevalence of scams everywhere, you may not be spared by scammers no matter if they are your relatives or even friends. And using your common sense means you have to be discerning with people and always give your well-being the priority. Like when someone offers you something, you have to think well and not to grab the offer just because it was offered by a friend. With strangers, it is still a good measure not to talk to strangers because you don't know that's inside their head. That is just to be on the safe side.
  16. Ava

    Ava Member

    When I did live in London I would be asked directions quite often, and at times I would offer to help only because I know there are some scammers out there. I think when people use airbnb and are looking for hotels or hostels they pull out a map, and wander around. That's one of the worst things to do as people know where you are staying and can target you.

    It sounds paranoid, but the old lady at the bus stop is less likely to scam you, or the mom pushing a stroller.
  17. Ha ha ha! Yes, that would work. I mean, asking the old lady or the mom pushing the stroller. That's until the scammers decide to use it as a ruse to catch their victims. I hope that's not going to happen. It would give old ladies and moms such a bad press.
  18. I think trusting anyone, even in your home country is always a risk. You kind of have to pay attending to the words you do understand and their expressions. I found that most people didn't understand what I was asking exactly because I wasn't fluent and so they gave me the best directions they could. Over the years, I don't make 'shortcuts' or dark lit areas, I try to keep out in the open as much as possible. I try to keep pictures and places in the native tongue on a piece of paper or on my phone, so I can point to it. That helps.
  19. Say, that sounds like a plan. I mean that part about keeping pictures and places on your phone. I have never thought of that as a way to bridge the communications gap. Actually, I do that when I am teaching English as a second language. I would search for images of the things I want to teach and show them on the screen. It makes teaching a lot faster. Maybe there's an app like a picture dictionary for travelers. Does anyone know?