After having a good meal of pho (lunch) at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, a friend and I walked out only to be intercepted by a cyclo driver.
He was very friendly and offered to bring us on a tour. As we didn’t really have transport planned, we decided to hear more from him. We told him about the places (e.g. post office) we wanted to visit and he said it was not a problem.
When it came to the price however, he told us we can pay whatever we want. We were obviously suspicious. However, what he did next was brilliant. He showed us a book full of positive customer testimonials, in different languages and even in different handwriting! As we could read several languages, we fell for it, being the naive 19 year olds we were.
Off we went and indeed we went to places we wanted to go. He was also very friendly during the trip and chatted with us – I guess that was to build trust for him to pull off the scam later on. Also, there was an outdoor praying area of sorts that we were brought to and did not request and the locals looked at us with a funny gaze. I wonder was that a warning sign?
At night, the naive us thought that this driver was so kind that we even treated him to dinner! Of course, on the way back to our place, along a dark street, he showed us an “official” price list with crazy prices. It was 2010 at that time, and we did not have GPS on our phone. We did not want to be abandoned along some dark street and so, we gave in.