Andy needed a project the other night, so I assigned him a guest post. This is the first in a series of fake travel tips.
As a quick look on your favorite internet search engine will make you aware (be it Lycos or AskJeeves), finding useful tips for traveling abroad is remarkably easy. There are an abundance of great resources like WikiTravel.org or RussianBrides.au that provide accurate and up-to-date tips about seeing the world/marrying a slave.
But what if that’s not what you’re looking for?
Where is all the inaccurate data? Where are the completely false travel suggestions? The fabricated scams that make no sense?
Right here, that’s where.
I’ve compiled (read: imagined) a list of amazingly insightful and useful tips that are sure to meet all your (false) needs. You can go ahead and bookmark this in your browser’s favorites, or even change this post to be your home page (here’s how).
For this first entry, let’s examine a timeless scam that you may run into when traveling by train.
Fake Travel Tip 1: Avoiding The Old ‘I’m the Ticket Collector’ Fakeout Scam
Occasionally when boarding trains in Thailand, you may just be settling into your luxurious bunk, ready to be whisked off to some exotic destination, when a man will come around and ask you for your tickets. Although this individual’s demeanor and dress (he will likely be wearing some official-looking uniform with a badge and gun) may make him appear to be a so-called “Ticket Collector” or “Railway Official”, he is in fact a con-artist that will steal your tickets and sell them for silver.
Do not be fooled.
This is the appropriate situation to make use of an ancient Thai custom called “rong-bi-kai-rak”, which roughly translates to the “I’m-onto-your-scheme posture”. To adopt the form, raise both of your hands straight above your head while keeping your palms flat and pointed inward towards your body. Begin to stomp your feet on the ground in alternation, while craning your head backwards and emitting a loud, howling shriek. Retain this action for upwards of thirty seconds to one minute.
Performing this ritual has a two-fold, double-whammy effect against your would-be assailant. First, it demonstrates that you have a deep familiarity with Thai customs and culture and as such, cannot be preyed upon via supposed naïvety. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, if your shriek is performed correctly, it should attract the attention of every other passenger of the train, and optimally, any persons present at the station. Inevitably, the con man will realize the gravity of his error and flee, leaving you to be congratulated and revered by the other passengers.
The correct ticket etiquette when boarding trains is to not hand them to anyone under any circumstances. Instead, before boarding, pick up a book of matches or a lighter in any of the nearby convenient stores. Once you’ve boarded the train and it has begun to move, crinkle your tickets into a ball and place them in the center of your seat or bunk. Strike one of the matches and light fire to the ticket-ball. (Note: don’t worry if you accidentally engulf the bunk or chair in flames, as it is a sanitation measure and, some believe, a good omen for the journey). You will know that your tickets have been accepted when you hear a loud beeping noise (Final note: another scam involves people telling you this is the fire alarm and then trying to spray your bunk with a fire extinguisher. Fight them off at all costs.)
I hope you enjoyed our first foray into the strange and exotic world of fake travel tips. It’s been an amazing ride and I’m willing to bet we’ve created some incredible new memories together.
Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll detail the differences between Ladyboys and Girlymen.
Hi! I'm Susan, and this is my travel journal. You can read more about me here.
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