Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Avoiding a Scam in Rain-Drenched Kuching and Returning to KL

Kuching and KL, Malaysia - I realized I outsmarted a scam. Last night, I informed my hotel counter that I'd need a taxi that would take me to the airport. The lady by the counter told me that they lost the phone number of the taxi service that picked me up at the airport which charged only 26 ringgit. So instead of paying 26 ringgit (the same rate as the airport's prepaid taxi service), their new contact is asking for 35 ringgit! Now we are talking about a 20 minute taxi ride to the airport so I smelled the stench of garbage. If the same taxi were to take me to the Cat Museum by Siol Hill, they would charge me 60 ringgit, which is kind of ridiculous already. I said yes to the airport, no to Cat Museum. What's an additional 9 ringgit anyway - it's just the price of a movie ticket at Berjaya Times Square!

This morning, after having my breakfast, I proceeded to the riverbank to relish on my last few hours in Kuching, I decided I'd pack and wait for my taxi earlier than the scheduled pick-up with the 36-ringgit taxi. It was a different guy (Kevin) manning the hotel counter. I reminded him of my taxi booking but he said he would call for a taxi now.
A real taxi - and not just some fly-by-night car who wanted to earn extra. What if the 35 ringgit taxi came too? Whoever would come 1st will get my ride!

An old man driving a real "
yellow taxi" came. His charge - 26 ringgit! The hotel didn't lose their taxi contact's number, after all. I knew I was being had by the girl at the counter last night! What tipped me? Who would believe one could lose a taxi contact number in Kuching? Was there only one? It would have been easily more believable if she said the taxi service I hired earlier was not available; the driver took off to Pluto; or she had a previous date with Ellen Degeneres. But lost their number? There are mendicants and scammers wherever you go. God!

Kuching - the
wettest city in all of Malaysia - cooperated during my visit. No rains at all. As my taxi pulls into the airport foyer, the rain started to fall and in minutes - it was blowing its fury!

Air Asia was delayed by 25 minutes... so our 1:55 PM departure became 2:20PM. I was back in KL by 4PM. The bus ride to Puduraya was relaxing. I dozed off. I don't exactly know what I will be doing all day tomorrow. I am out of ideas. I don't want anything stressful at all; maybe a DVD hunt, a movie, a new little place that I haven't visited somewhere in the city? I dunno. I wanna find
Lake Titiwangsa but I am not sure how to go there. Taxi is out of the question. It's just too expensive taking cabs in this city.

How to Train Your Dragon" was the only movie I could watch at Berjaya and I wanted something relaxing. It was more than that - it was such a delight! Dreamworks has succeeded in "taming" dragons and I love "Toothless" to pieces. Who could love a black and seemingly disfigured dragon? Trust Speilberg and company to work out the impossible. Most other foreign films showing didn't have english subtitle including a Malaysian actioner called "V3" and a Korean action adventure called "Tao" which looked interesting!

This is the Eye in the Sky!

No comments: