okay it was my first day in Colombo, Sri
Lanka. I’d just left my hotel in the Colombo Fort area and I’m out doing a wee bit
video blogging, when this happened. No not the Chinese posing for photos, that’s pretty normal. I’m talking about the beggar that’s in
front of me. He shouts something as he sees me coming. How are you sir.
Now as I walked past them you can see a man and a red polo shirt walking in the
opposite direction. As soon as I pass him he does a sharp U-turn and gives a thumbs
up to the beggar, who doubt has just alerted him to my presence. So, unaware to me at the time, he starts following me. I walk pretty fast so I
know if somebody’s walking at the same pace as me it’s no coincidence, that guy
wants something. So I’m out exploring with a general direction in mind of where I
want to go and I think I’ll turn round this corner. Oh and so does he. I think I’ll
change my mind and cross this road. Oh and so does he. So I run across the road.
And so does he. Yeah I’m fast it’s no problem for me mate.
I’m a fast one. Anyway, I’d finished saying what I wanted to say to my
GoPro and stop recording and put it down and it was at that point that the fella
started talking to me so I sneakily hit the record button again and just kept
the camera down at my waist so it didn’t look like I was filming because I kind
of knew that this is going to be some kind of scam or something like that.
Nobody approaches a tourist in this kind of manner,
speaking perfect English like this it just never happens without it being a
scam so I kinda knew straight away When you come to Sri Lanka, today?
ah yes but I’ve been here before Other side more beautiful. You go other side.
Take a photograph. There’s nothing there.
There’s more beautiful, uh?
This place, Red Mosque, Tsunami Temple. The Red Mosque, yeah I’ll take a look, yeah.
When you came Sri Lanka, today? Today but I’ve been before. It’s the second time.
Ahhhh, Sri Lanka. Okay, so he starts by asking if it’s my first day in
Sri Lanka and if I’ve been here before. Basically what he’s asking me is,
“how much of a noob are you?”
“How easy is it gonna be for me to scam you right now”? Very beautiful.
Go this one. No I want to walk around this way.
This way nothing here.
It’s OK, I just want to walk around, I have a lot of time. So straight away he’s
enthusiastically trying to coax me in some other direction by telling me about
oh a beautiful temple that you need to go and see. Unfortunately for him I’m not
a sheep. I’m not that easily led and also I’m not really interested and visiting
some random temple. I mean I’ve seen enough temples in my life that I could
easily go the rest of my life without ever seeing another one and being quite happy about it. If you told me there was a place over
there giving away free ice cream, or there’s a place where
really hot girls hang out or there’s a retro Nintendo Museum or something like
that he may have got my interest but some temple, nah, not interested mate. Where you stay?
Where do I stay? In Galle Face road.
Ahh, you second time Sri Lanka. Yeah, second time, yeah. And you? What’s your job here?
In the port harbour.
Port harbour? What you doing there?
Container discharging loading, discharging loading. Ahh, okay, you do this all day, yeah?
Yeah today I’m on leave. Ahh because it’s Saturday, uh?
Saturday off day. So I asked this guy “what is
your job here?” and he’s trying to tell me that he works at the port in some kind
of labour job, loading and unloading containers or something like that some
kind of job where the effort is really high but the pay is really low and he
likes to spend his one day off per week, not resting, not at home with his
family but wandering the streets of Colombo approaching tourists with his
perfect English. Yes, the story does not check out. You came how many years before?
Before two years ago. I go to Ella, Hatton. Hatton, Kandy and Negombo and Galle
Negombo, I’m living in Negombo.
You’re living in Negombo? and you come here for work every day, yeah?
Every day yeah. Negombo is very good in the beach. This, you’re working here?
Other side. Ahh, okay, I’m going to walk this wat
Nice to meet you, I see you next time. You seen already Red Mosque?
Yeah, I will see. So right there I tried to get rid of him.
I kind of let him walk ahead a little bit to see where he was going and then I decided to cross the road to the right. Ohhh, but still he’s coming with me.
Still he’s following me. This one Red Mosque.
Yeah, I know. Two years before, you came, you see new one? What they changed it, they paint?
Ohh, a new one. Look this.
Yeah I see. Yes two years before make this already finished here.
Okay, I walk there now. You want to see Tsunami Temple?
2004 December 26th, tsunami came. Yeah I know the tsunami, this very bad.
Very bad, 3,900 people dying and the temple, look at the biggest one, *something* temple. So if this was a genuine interaction with a genuine Sri Lankan citizen and they suggested that
you should go and see some kind of attraction and you just told them you
weren’t interested that would be the end of part of the conversation. They wouldn’t
suggest it again but this guy he’s walking in the opposite direction of
where he was originally going and follow me through all the streets to try and
convince me I have to go and see this place. Yeah it’s pretty obvious he’s
trying to lead me to something that’s gonna end up with me parting with cash. Seen this temple.
You never seen, never been to here? No, first I will walk across to the Red Mosque. You seen *something*, Buddhist temple?
No. Ah I don’t I don’t like to visit the
temple, not interesting for me. Not big on religion, so temple not really
interesting for me. Temple no interesting?
Yeah, not interesting for me. Okay, so he’s engaging with me in a bit of chitchat
about Sri Lanka and different places are good to see but still he’s trying to steer the
conversation in the direction of suggesting that this beautiful temple is
a place that I must go and see despite me outright telling him that I’ve got zero interest in temples. Yeah I like the architecture, the old buildings from the Portuguese and the Dutch and the British They build some nice buildings in Sri Lanka, uh?
Sri Lanka, yeah. They build some nice-looking buildings.
You go Dutch building, Dutch. Yeah, the Dutch, they build the buildings
300, 400 years ago and still, still here still here, not fall down after three, four hundred years.
300 years before, Dutch Church, 1749. The Dutch Church. Dutch buildings good. Only Dutch. You came, you want to see Dutch colonial building?
Yeah, I see in Galle they have many Dutch building everywhere, uh?
Yeah that’s a Dutch port, Galle is a Dutch port. Yeah, yeah.
And the Negombo, British people make Negombo. Now it’s hot sir.
Yeah for me especially because I’m not from here. Okay nice to meet you, I’m going to walk on my own.
You go Tsunami Temple, Tsunami Temple I’m going to walk to the Red Mosque now.
Yeah okay, nice to meet you.
You go Tsunami Temple, never seen? Maybe later I go.
Maybe later I go. It was nice to meet you. Okay nice to meet you, have a nice day. Woah, woah, woah, woah. okay so I finally got rid of him,
but not without a desperate attempt from him to try and convince me to go to see
this Tsunami Temple. You can see the desperation on his face there as he just has
one last attempt as he knows that I’m leaving. oh but you don’t want to go see
the Tsunami Temple, oh you Tsunami Temple, Tsunami Temple, I don’t care mate, I don’t care, see you later. Right, so that fella was walking with me for like 5 minutes. But hey, that’s not the end to the story.
The fella, look at him, behind me, he’s on his phone
now, and a tuk-tuk stops beside him to pick him up. He didn’t wave it down or anything this tuk-tuk’s just stopped and let him
in and so basically that tuk-tuk’s his friend and that tuk-tuk must have
been stalking us the whole time, like driving behind us, like maybe like 10
meters behind just following us so that’s part of the scam. So what is this scam?
Well I did a bit of googling afterwards and the only reference I
could find to a Tsunami Temple in Colombo was on somebody’s blog saying
that they got scammed funnily enough so I’ve read that and the way it works is this.
Okay, the scammer approaches the tourists, and convinces them to visit the
Tsunami Temple, this beautiful Tsunami Temple that’s nearby. His friend’s in a tuk-tuk and
he sees them and offers them a free ride, because, he’s offering it for free,
why would you offered it for free? oh because you want to go and see the
memorial to our good people who died in the tsunami, I’ll take you there for free.
So the scammer, the tuk-tuk and the victims go to the Tsunami Temple, that
ends up being like 15 minutes away, so apparently not that nearby after all.
Anyway it turns out just to be some ordinary temple, not beautiful, just as
beautiful as temples are. It’s just some ordinary temple that are ten-a-penny in Sri Lanka, you know. So the victim spend like a couple of minutes there
at best, don’t take any photos and just ask the tuk-tuk to drive them back to the
Colombo Fort area so they get in the tuk-tuk,
they get back to Colombo Fort and that’s when the tuk-tuk starts demanding
massive amounts of money from them. Apparently all the only the ride to the
temple was free, not the ride back so that’s the scam.
The tuk-tuk’s just giving up all this time and everything and now he’s asking for
the money for taking him there and knowing that it’s probably their first day in Sri
Lanka they don’t know how much a tuk-tuk costs, so he’s asking for whatever,
like $20, $30 I presume anyway in the blog I read, the victims
had an argument with this tuk-tuk and just threw him a 500 rupee note and
told them to take it or leave it so they took it and they drove off shouting abuse
at the victims, with their money in their pocket, so there you have it, that’s quite
elaborate scam just to get an overpriced tuk-tuk fare out of some victims.
I feel like if these people can come up with such a scam such an elaborate scheme that they
can use that kind of ingenuity to create some kind of entrepreneurial business,
but I don’t know, I guess they just find it easier to be dirty scammers than entrepreneurs. Well, congratulations scumbags. You may earn an easy 500 or 1000
rupees now and again from some stupid tourists but know this and know it clear,
foreign visitors hate you, your own Sri Lankan people despise you for disgracing their country. So enjoy your life of stealing from people for petty cash,
for chump change, while being hated by absolutely everyone. Enjoy that life,
while it lasts, hopefully not for too long. Okay, so please give this video a
thumbs up, it’ll help more people see it and if only 1 person sees this and then
avoids wasting their time and money on this kind of scam then is worthwhile
isn’t it? So until next time guys please consider subscribing more Sri Lankan
videos are coming soon, but until next time, cheerio for now and I will see you on the next one.