EXCERPT: While Matt, my roommate in Beijing, and I emerged from the metro station outside Tiananmen Square, a young Asian girl followed closely behind. She startled me by speaking in English. “Hello. Are you American?”

Stacey Federoff
6/2/2009 12:36:56 pm

Brandon this happened to me and my friends when we were in China, too! We had no problem avoiding the "art student exhibition," which I believe we encountered in the Forbidden City. Unfortunately, we were scammed by the "students" who wanted to take us for tea.

We had even read about this at our hostel, but were excited, like you said, about meeting students our age -- in every other country we visited I enjoyed my contact with students. I was in Tiananmen Square when three girls approached us, talked to us for a bit and asked if we would like to go for some tea since it was chilly outside. The first sign we should have noticed was that they said the museum with Mao in it was closed, which is what all the travel guides tell you to watch out for. Then they led us down the street to the back of this pharmacy -- which should have been the second sign, since they said they weren't from the area -- and another girl appeared and poured us all tea. It was outrageously priced for just small sips of different flavors of tea so we realized what was happening and weaseled our way out after only two teas. I forget how much it was, but it was WAY overpriced, and, of course, after we paid, the girls said they were staying to have more tea when really I'm sure they were just getting their cut of the scam.

Ugh! I can't believe we fell for that -- proof that you have to watch out! I found, when in doubt (and tired of being hassled by people) pretend you don't speak English!

Totally enjoying your blog!


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