Travel Tales: Portugal and its Tourists
This will not become a series but it’s just a quirky observation or experience I had in particular countries I thought might be interesting to share.
When we were in Evora, one of the most tourist-y areas in Portugal we were stuck in the city with no way out until the next day, trying to find a hotel to sleep in for the night.
By chance we struck up a friendship with a local and he kindly offered to find us a hotel on such short notice.
He went through the entire list of hotels in his head (he knew them all), and eventually located an independent hotel that had one room available for the night.
He called ahead, booked the room under his name so that the reservation would be facilitated easier, and brought us to the hotel.
I’d love to stay in a hotel like this if it ever existed.
When we arrived, the lady at the check-in counter did a double take when she realized it would be a foreign COUPLE staying in the room and not this single local.
She started by backtracking on the price, saying that it would now be double for two occupants.
Our local friend protested saying that it was just one bed we would share, and whether or not we were a couple or not, made no difference and certainly not to DOUBLE the price of a hotel.
At this point, we’re listening to this heated conversation go back and forth, not saying a word.
She argued back that we would use more water and so on…. and it escalated to the point when she finally said with rather frustrated venom:
“BUT LOOK AT THEM.
They can afford to pay double and they SHOULD pay double. They’re not going to come back and they won’t even know the difference or care.”
The local guy pleaded and wouldn’t back off, and finally, he got the room for us at the agreed-upon price before all of this foreign tourist hoobaloo.
When he recounted the story to us, we realized three things:
1. You need a local to help sometimes
2. Based on how you dress and if you are screaming “rich foreigner” or not.
…then they may scam you down to every penny you are worth if they can, by raising prices astronomically or adding on special “foreign tourist” taxes that you can’t understand.
3. You should be aware that sometimes things go wrong, and you might have to pay the price if you don’t book a hotel ahead of time in anticipation.
Anyway, what stood out in my mind the most is that they’re desperate/poor and in North America, I have never really experienced such flagrant scamming of foreigners.
Sure, some business owners might raise the price slightly if they don’t already have standard, posted signs of their fees and prices, but they wouldn’t go quite as far as to try and blatantly lie and cheat you.