India 7: The lengths people will go to, to con a tourist
Mumbai, Friday night, after dark.
Eventually the seafront road turns inland and on our left, shopkeepers sell their wares onto the street, on small tables and stands. The girl approaches us again and says in stilted English "Can you buy milk for me?" pointing at a carton of powdered milk on a shopkeeper's stall. It's for my little brother. I'm tempted to help her, since she'd walked all that way. I ask the shopkeeper how much. 350 rupees (approx 4 GBP). And then it hits me. That's way over the odds. The milk should be about 30 rupees. She's in cahoots with the shopkeeper. Presumably that after I've bought the milk and gone, thinking I've done a good deed, she would give it back to the shopkeeper and split the profits. Nice little earner.
Someone else told us they'd seen a similar scam with rice. The whole incident reminded me that this is a major tourist spot and everyone wants your money. I think how lucky I am that we didn't see any of this in Gujarat. Fortunately, apart from at these major tourist spots like Gateway of India and Victoria Terminal, begging and scamming is not too prevalent. Not as much as some cities like say Barcelona. Still, it just shows, if there's tourists around, don't trust anyone!