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:
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!
Watch this space!
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Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
So what are you waiting for?
Thanks a million!