Friday, September 01, 2006

The Ride

I've just returned to the city after three nights in the countryside, and I'm unsure where to pick up the story. My older brother Troy, always an attentive listener, asked for some clarification on my being "taken for a ride" by the cab driver at the airport, and that seems as good a place to start as any.

The moment I walked out of customs and into the hoard of people waiting for someone other than me, I was approached by a man wanting to drive me into the city. Being leery of men who hang around airports in wait for the most vulnerable looking person who steps off the plane, and having a few things I needed to do before leaving, I said, "no thank you," and exited the building for the most important order of business, a cigarette.

After taking in some nicotine and some scenery, I entered the building again to change money and buy water. The driver followed me persistently, and my bag was taller than my head; so, with no other mode of transportation in view and my errands completed,I gave in.Before I agreed I asked him the approximate price, and he quoted me a reasonable amount per kilometer; the problem was, we didn't discuss how many kilometers the ride would be. He had enough English to say the names of things, and I guess he thought this qualified him as a tour guide.

He drove around pointing at things, and it took over an hour to get to my guest house when it should have taken no more than 30 minutes. It also cost roughly 27 dollars when it should have cost no more than 10. It's wasn't the money that bothered me, although that is more than my total expenses on any other day I've spent in Mongolia, it was being suckered.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bummer. Hope you saw some interesting stuff. I guess if he did show you anything of interest you can chalk it up to a tour. Now you can agree to a price before hand. Mary and I were pretty adamant about that on our trips and I think some cabbies are still trembling at the memory...10 to 27 thought? Dayamn...


PS: More about the food please!

8:57 PM GMT-5  
Blogger troeee said...

Thanks! for the props and the elaboration. your blog has a very nice balance of words to ideas and content to pictures.

6:08 PM GMT-5  

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