Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Violated

By C. LaRene Hall

I’m not big on jewelry although before the children era, I wore a lot. Sometimes during special dress-up occasions, I do wear a necklace and earrings. I have plenty in my jewelry box, but rarely buy any for myself.

I’m sure anyone who has traveled to Hawaii has visited the International Market Place where there are hundreds of booths with various souvenirs scattered throughout a large area. During my recent trip, the back entrance to this famous place was just across the street from our hotel.

In the evenings, my husband and I often found ourselves wandering among the many vendors. One day I was walking from one section to another and I made a big mistake. I stopped to admire a necklace. Immediately a woman pounced on me. She started to put a necklace on me, then another one, and another one. She proceeded to put bracelets on me while I kept saying, “I don’t wear jewelry.”

I’m standing there trying to remove them as fast as she is putting them on me. Finally, in desperation I shoved them all at her and ran as fast as I could. I had never felt so violated in my life. No one had ever succeeded in putting so much jewelry around my neck and wrists in my lifetime. Actually, I don’t think anyone ever tried this stunt.

About 10 booths down I stopped to admire a dress and guess what? There she was again, “Name a price.”

That time I left my husband far behind and got out of there. From then on, I always entered the market place from a different direction, and I wouldn’t go near those makeshift stores the entire trip. I bought necklaces for my granddaughters, but not from her.

I never realized that vendors could violate a person in such a way. I also didn’t know they could be sneaky. One night while walking on the sidewalk in front of the market place a man walked up to my husband and put a parrot on his head. He then put another parrot onto the hand of the husband of my friend. He told me, “Take a picture.”

Of course, being a dumb tourist I did exactly what he said. He then told me to stand by my husband and he tried to put a parrot on my hand. I pulled my hand back and said, “You’re not putting a strange bird on my hand.”

He put the bird onto my head (thank goodness I had on a hat) and the other one he put on my friend’s head and reached for my camera. I can’t believe I gave it to him. What if he had stolen it with all my vacation pictures? And a digital camera isn’t cheap. Sometimes I just don’t think. This was one of those times. He took a couple of pictures and to my relief handed me back my camera. Then he said, “That will cost you $20 a couple.”

We told him, “No!” We finally gave him a five-dollar bill and hurried away. How dumb can we be? Are all tourists as dumb as we are?

I knew when I returned I would have lots to write about, but this isn’t the type of thing I planned on writing. Instead, I wanted to write about exotic places that I visited. I’ll get to that eventually, so return next week and I’ll tell you about the entertainment in Hawaii.

5 comments:

Anna Maria Junus said...

Wow. I understand the woman (I don't agree but I understand) but the guy? He wasn't even using his own camera.

Thanks for the warning, not that I'm going anytime soon.

I found in Puerto Villarta the attitude of people being nice to you until they realize you weren't going to give them any money.

Keith Fisher said...

Heres a solution: capture the bird and tell the man, you will give it back for fifty dollars. when he complanins, tell him what he is doing is extortion. It is illegal, but then he did it too. sorry you ahd a rough time. I remember the international market and the street you are talking about. most of the people in the market left me alone because I am a big man and I wore a scowel.

Keith Fisher said...

Heres a solution: capture the bird and tell the man, you will give it back for fifty dollars. when he complanins, tell him what he is doing is extortion. It is illegal, but then he did it too. sorry you ahd a rough time. I remember the international market and the street you are talking about. most of the people in the market left me alone because I am a big man and I wore a scowel.

Connie Hall said...

I wish someone had warned me. Keith yes you are big, but I can't imagine you with a scowel.

Heather Justesen said...

Connie, when I visited my sister in Mexico (was it really over ten years ago? Yikes!) she warned me in advance that if you touch something, they will think you want to buy it and badger you all the way to the door. I'm a touching kind of person so it took a lot of restraint to hold my hands down when I wanted to touch the cool things the vendors had for sale.

Sorry no one warned you! I hope the rest of your trip was great!