As many ways as there are to make bread, love, or kill a man, there are just as many ways to run a scam in Beijing and it goes something like this, a tourist is approached by a local person, a pretty girl, student, or friendly person and asks if the tourist would like to go for a drink. The local takes the tourist to a specific bar and they order drinks, food, and when the bill arrives it turns out to be an exorbitant amount of money. If the tourist resists in paying the bill the police are called or depending on the situation it could be worse.
I’m traveling with my girlfriend and we went to dinner at the biggest mall in Beijing located on Wangfujing street. We finish and walk out into the Mall and my companion says she needs to visit the toilet. I am left alone in the middle of the mall and all of a sudden these two young beautiful 20 something girls approach me and start a conversation. They start flirting and coming on to me, I’m all a giggle, and they are obviously interested in me, right?
Lets get real people. I am a middle aged average looking guy and there is no frigging way these two beautiful women are coming on to me, no frigging way, so it occurs to me I’m in the middle of a scam! Now I could brush them off but I decide to have some fun. The young girls ask if I’m with my wife.
“No, no wife” I say as I look towards the bathroom.
“We are looking for a place for dinner and some drinks.” The more confident girl said as she twirls her hair.
To ensure I have the advantage of the situation i start to notice their body language. Both girls’ shoulders were erect with plenty of eye contact. I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one was observing or approaching from behind. I pointed to the escalator. “There are plenty of restaurants down there.”
“No they are getting ready to close. Where are you staying?” the second girl asked as she lightly touched my arm, more body language to show interest and affection.
I moved a little closer and kept close observant of their eyes.
“I’m staying at the Marriot.” Not really but I want to see their reaction when I said I was staying at one of the most expensive hotels in Beijing. The less confident girl’s eyes quickly dilated indicating extreme interests or more like, “We have hit the big money.”
The first girl asked “We are going down the street would you like to join us?”
I looked over at the bathroom again and wondered where my companion was.
“Who are you waiting for?” the second girl asked as she noticed my interest in the toilet door.
At that time my girlfriend comes out looking not too pleased as she sees these two young girls paying more attention to me than they should. I wrap my arm around my partner and whisper in her ear. “Play along.”
I addressed the two girls. “This is my girlfriend.”
“Oh that’s nice, the American with an Asian woman.” One girl whispers to the other. “We are still looking for a drink, care to join us?”
It was time to end this little game and I smiled and said, “No we are heading home but would you care to join us in our room?” eyebrows going up and down.
The two girls laughed, realized we were on to them and waved a goodbye.
I felt a sharp punch to the rib. My girlfriend glared at me. “What were you going to do if they said yes?!
Apparently many people fall for this scam and this scenario happened to us twice during our stay in Beijing so it’s wise to be prepared and aware.
Wangfujing Street, Beijing
Wangfujing is the main shopping area in Beijing. High-end shops line the avenue but what you want to do is go off the main grid and get behind the scenes. Not only will the prices be cheaper the food gets a little bizarre.
You think I ate this stuff? Think again. At the end of Wangfujing is St. Josephs where people line dance every evening to Chinese top-40 hits, a pleasant way to end an evening.
Next Tianaman Square and the Forbidden City