A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
And that means going on holiday/vacation.
I don’t know about you, but as soon as the sun comes out, my brain begins to fry and I’m not as alert as I ought to be.
As you know, I’ve been living in Berlin for more than seventeen (17) years, and it really is one of the best cities ever.
But it wasn’t always that way!
My beloved Berlin used to be quite a different place back in the 90’s.
Back in the day, I used to go to the Love Parade every summer, and electronic techno clubs Berghain and Tresor practically every weekend!
In fact, the gentrified areas of Mitte and Prenzlauerberg in East Berlin (where I live) today, were quite trashy, horrifying, and in some places, even dangerous!
Hence, I lived in arty, grungy, student, alternative Kreuzberg in West Berlin.
My boyfriend and I lived in a huge rent-controlled apartment near the river.
It didn’t have a bathroom.
It didn’t have any heating.
And I had to haul up steel-buckets of coal every week!
It was worth it though ‘cos we were living in a 19th century building, and my share of the rent in those days, was a mere €17.00 per week!
It took me just six (6) weeks to get a well-paid teaching job, and six (6) months later, I was the Head of not one Corporate Language School, but two (2)!
One day, I went to the bank to pick up some money for a summer-BBQ party that I was organising for all our schools in Berlin at the time, and on that day, I got scammed!
Tell us what happened?
I’m coming to it.
Hold your horses!
Well, I made a few mistakes that day, and really, I shouldn’t have been so gullible.
But I was.
MISTAKE NUMBER 1:
I went to the bank, collected 500 Deutsche Marks or about €1,000. (Yep. it’s that long ago!) And then decided to go into “town” a mere 10 minutes away from my establishment.
I should have gone straight back to the office instead!
MISTAKE NUMBER 2:
I saw a large crowd gathering at the town square of East Berlin’s most popular tourist attraction – Alexanderplatz. And went to investigate what people were looking at.
Most sane people would run away if they saw a crowd.
I tend to do the opposite, and walk towards it!
I should have just kept on walking!
MISTAKE NUMBER 3:
There were a group of men playing a sort of cup game, where if you guess which cup the dice or ball is under, you win.
I should have just minded my own business!
MISTAKE NUMBER 4:
I stopped to watch the other “tourists” playing and “winning.” Each and every “tourist” that played won. I thought it would be a laugh, and I could easily “win” too!
To be honest, I don’t even know why I even bothered, as I’m not the gambling type.
I don’t play cards or games for money.
I don’t play scratch-cards.
I don’t play slot machines.
I don’t play bingo.
I don’t even play the lottery.
And I’m not in the habit of “playing” with my money.
I’m far too stingy!
The cost for each “go” was 50 Deutsche Marks or €100!
I gave the man the money.
And I lost it!
I should have just taken it as a done thing, and gone back to my office.
MISTAKE NUMBER 5:
I’m arrogant and stubborn.
I was so convinced that it was a “game” and that I could beat them.
I decided to “play” again.
I had quite a bit of cash in my purse, so I gave the man another 50 Deutsche Marks or €100!
I lost that too!
I was quite annoyed and convinced that something was up as I had looked quite closely, and didn’t take my eyes off the “cup.”
Now I’m not mad enough to spend more money, as that cash wasn’t really mine, and I would have to replace it once I got back.
And 100 Deutsche Marks or €200 was still quite a lot of money!
So I stuck around.
And watched really carefully.
And then I saw it.
The “tourists” who had “won,” weren’t tourists at all!
They were friends and mates of the game organisers and were involved with scamming pretty much each and every legitimate tourist.
Not only that, but the guy issuing the cups somehow kept the ball in his hands so that all the cups were empty!
And if, like myself, you insist the cups be checked as evidence that the ball was actually still under one of the cups, the guy then dropped the ball under the cup, in the same motion as lifting it up!
I’m not entirely sure how it’s done.
But what a scam!
I protested, and asked for my money back, but they insisted that I leave their space.
And like I said, Alexanderplatz was a rough place in those days and I still had 400 Deutsche Marks or €800 in my purse, so just to be sure that I wasn’t being followed, I took a taxi back!
What an idiot and a fool I was!
And that was how I lost 100 Deutsche Marks or €200, just like that!
This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and stupidity, are my very own!
That’s it for now.
For more of what to do if you’ve been scammed, and how to avoid it in the future, follow my blog!
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Oh no! I have seen that “cup” scam in London..just over the bridge as you have your back on London eye and are facing the Big Ben! I don’t trust those guys and haven’t had the interest in pkaying, but yeah..I’ve been scammed in Athens at the port. Those guys sold me fakes (iPhones and ipad.) Won’t be so foolish now.
Thanks so much Caroline!
It was a long time ago, and I had never previously heard of such a game. Or any game! I’m shocked to hear that it’s still going on all over Europe! 🙁
I am thinking youth and inexperience played a major role in this too. I am sure you would not fall prey to such a thing these days.
Thanks so much Kim!
Indeed it did! I was young, fresh in Berlin, and thought I knew it all! Ha! Ha! That smile was wiped off my smile pretty quickly! 😀
I’ve travelled the world since then, and experienced scams here and there, but never again got caught out. In some situations, I just walked off and refused outright to “pay” for a service that was a complete and utter scam. You can read more about that in my next post!
I am excited to hear more in the upcoming post.
Victoria, I almost got scammed in Thailand, but luckily realised it and got out of the scammers tuk-tuk like a flash. Such a shame you lost quite a bit of cash, but I think these people are so incredibly convincing that anyone can fall for it, even more so when you are young and naive. You have been in Berlin for a long time, I can just imagine how different it must have been there in the 90’s 🙂
Thanks so much Gilda!
Indeed, Berlin in the 90’s was fantastic, but sooooo very different. It was dirty, everywhere was filled with rubble, steel and industrial pipes strewn across ceilings. It was also crammed with squatters in every corner, punks, grunge and techno freaks. It was a little crazy, but just my type of place at the time as a young Brit very much into hard-core clubbing! It was all about the music, so we didn’t really care! Now, I’d give such a fellow a swift telling off, and a piece of my mind. And probably walk off with the dice!! 😀
p.s.Those Bangkok tuk-tuks in particular are quite notorious. I’ll be writing more about that in the next post…!
What happened? Oh, do tell!
1.000 Deutsche Mark = 2.000 €?
I thought it was:
1.000 Deutsche Mark = 500 €
Today it feels like 1.000 Deutsche Mark = 1.000€ (inflationsbedingt)
LOL! Hi Magnus! 😀
I’m using academic licence and putting the value of todays’ money and what it would have been worth, if you compared like with like.
Either way, it was a lot of money. And I lost it under a cup! 🙁
Oh, I remember 90’s. It was the time of scammers, small and big, in Moscow and East Berlin – all over Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union.
I’m sorry. But at least you tried and got a topic for this post.
Thanks so much Victor!
Yep! The ’90’s in Eastern Europe was real! It was a great time, but you had to constantly be on your toes!
When I lived in Prague, my Czech friends introduced me to members of the Ukraine mafia, so that they would know me, and have the understanding to leave me alone and not be targeted as a “tourist.” Believe me, I was very scared! 😀
p.s. There’s more coming up in my next post, but on the topic of “international” scams!
This topic is always interesting.
I really enjoyed your photos and description of your life in Berlin. A city I have not been to yet but would love to experience. As for the scamming, I guess there are scammers everywhere and we all hate to lose, but the best is to walk away, not go back for more!! ahahah. Much like gambling. We always think we can recover the loss but alas, it just gets worse.
Thanks so much Petra. That’s awfully nice of you to say so. 😀
Oh, you should definitely visit Berlin. It’s such a fab city all the same, and one that I have happily built my home in, as a now British-German expat!
Haw! Haw! If only I had walked away. Worse! I have never ever gambled in my life!
Still. I certainly learnt my lesson and never got fooled again. Although the scammers tried. Oh, how they tried!
p.s. Do stick around as I’ll be writing about the other scams that I thankfully missed, in my next post. 😀
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Same thing happened to me a few hrs ago. I feel so stupid. And now i feel so unsafe 🙁
Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear this Angela. 🙁 What happened? Are you in a safe place now?
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during my early days of binary option i fell into a lot of online scams, trying to trade bitcoin and invest in binary options. Which nearly wrecked me out, making me loose up to 259k very confused on what to do until my boss introduced me to an online recovery agent /Email address removed!) A recovery expert who helped me recover all my money back from those scammers. He’s also able to recover money back from any forms of scam.
Thank you for your comment.
I’m so sorry to hear of your bad luck. Sadly, we’ve all been through it one way or the another. 🙁
Bummer, that you lost a huge amount of dosh, but at least when we get scammed, we learn a valuable lesson and hopefully, not get ourselves in such a situation again!
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