How the universe works! Last night I considered — but only for an insane moment — hiring a moped to go explore the island of Phuket, riding along at 30mph with my hair and beard flickering in the wind just like Dennis Hopper. So as I normally do, I did some research; a simple process that involved typing five words ‘hiring a bike in Thailand’ into the Google Machine. Without needing to read more than a few articles my consideration of the option quickly faded.
Before I left for my long haul I researched the various scams that us travellers are forced to beware of throughout our journey. It made sense to me, know your subject and know it well especially as I was to embark solo!
So yesterday I read about the scams involved with ‘hiring a bike in Thailand’ of which I am now fully aware. I’m also aware of the legalities of doing such and I’d bet that 90% of the people riding around aren’t aware that just one police stop can put them in a rather difficult position! Bribes anyone?
So today I found a side street restaurant to have lunch and I end up sharing a table with owner as the power was out. Along comes a Russian tourist who hires one of his bikes of which he’d just made me aware. The point of my story is that I watch the guy hire a bike wide open to abuse and does the worst thing possible; he hands over his passport without a problem. Here he is doing it:
When the owner walked away to sort some paperwork I asked the guy if he speaks English to which I get a firm ‘no’. By the time I’d thumbed the message on the right, the owner had returned and the guy was happily already twiddling with the rather rough looking machine. I can only hope nothing untoward happens as the owner seemed a decent chap although I didn’t like his hidden smile once he’d received the cash and signed contract! That aside, it was strange to witness just how naive people can be with the most important document of their holiday or any idea of how to protect themselves either.