Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Tourist that got Taken

I don't know if you are aware of the stereotypes that follow American tourists but there are a few. One haunts you and trails you like a shadow from place to place. Vendors, restaurants, and shops can see you coming from a mile away and will try and squeeze every euro cent out of you that they can. Americans are apparently known for being na├»ve and easy sells. While I was in Paris with my friends Sarah, Lindsay, and Anna we hadn’t run into this trickery until one dreadful evening. Our last day in Paris we went to the top of the Eifel Tower and had a picturesque French meal across from its baby of landmarks, unfortunately Lindsay’s stomach didn’t appreciate the French onion soup too much because she ended up being too sick to come to our last dinner there later that night. Sarah, Anna, and I headed to Moulin Rouge to check out the legendary strip. We saw what we came to see and got down to the business of eating. We had learned the hard way to, “Eat what you can read”, meaning if you can read the menu than it’s probably overpriced a tad, but OK to eat there. We settled for a cute restaurant directly across from Moulin Rouge. We enjoyed the view over our steak and fries. We were treated to some interesting people watching to say the least. It was time for the check. We got it and were astonished. Our bottled waters were, are you ready for this, seven euro apiece! That’s a total of 21 euro, roughly about $26.00 at home. We got taken. Naturally, we all scoured the menu looking for the small fine print that somewhere gave the price. We never did find it. This was our one lesson to ask if we aren’t sure and never just order on a whim. People will take you for tourists. I’m just glad I skipped dessert.

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