Wednesday, July 13, 2011
There are many beautiful beaches around the world. We have had the privilege of visiting a few of them. White sands, crystal clear, deep blue waters, peace and quiet. The lake we visited this week had the blue waters, the deepest blue I've seen yet. The white sand was shipped in and fenced like a giant sandbox. I was afraid to take my shoes off for fear of who had used it. The actual shore was rocks, sharp ones. As for peace and quiet, well, no there was none. Especially peace. The cheating and taking advantage began as soon as we set foot on the beach. We sat down at some tables to enjoy our picnic lunch, after verifying with the nearby shop owner that it was ok and no charge. We were almost finished eating when two women came up and demanded that we pay for each table used. Where were they when we first arrived? They waited till the last minute to approach us, so we knew we were being cheated because we were foreigners. It is difficult to stay calm when they are yelling at you, pulling your arm and blocking your way. We (the guys) patiently and firmly explained how we don't pay cheaters and that the best move was for them to leave us alone. We packed up all our stuff and headed down the "beach" past little booths selling whole fried crab, tiny shrimp on a stick and other fare, along the water front completely blocked by paddle boats for rent. The mean ladies followed us. I was surprised at their audacity as they pulled on Frank's arm and stood in front of foreigners twice their size. We brushed right past their empty threats of police retaliation. Along the shore was a small patch of empty ground that had not been confiscated and we put our stuff down to claim it. Careful not to place anything on the table nearby, we moved it back a foot. Bad idea! The woman ( a different one) came running. Frank stopped her in her tracks with a look and a firm sendoff. She moved her table back, then retreated to a safe distance but hovered the whole day like a greedy vulture. One of them told us the ground had to be rented too and the only free part was the two feet of shore before the water's edge. She was also told to get lost after being directed to the many Chinese tourists making free use of both tables and ground. It put a damper on our spirits at first, but the water was free and were soon laughing and splashing in the cold deep blue, oblivious to the gnashing teeth. The idea is, we are foreigner, so we are rich. Therefore, we should have to pay.Little did they know.