A Trip He’d Never Forget
One man assumed his trip to Beijing would be a life-changing, but definitely not in the way his story played out. One Reddit user had to learn the hard way that looks can be deceiving, and sometimes it’s best not to trust a complete stranger. He would have to learn the hard way that sometimes you can’t trust a pretty, smiling face.
A Face In The Crowd
The Reddit user, who we’ll call Brian, was your average white guy heading off to Beijing, China for a science conference in a neighboring city. He liked his newfound celebrity status as a “white foreigner” to these Beijingers, and was slowly growing accustomed to the requests for photos and to touch his hair. He was excited to be a “famous” tourist in the city for a few days. One day, he decided to visit the forbidden city and found himself in a crowded open stone space near the back gate.
He stood around, trying to decide where he wanted to go next, when all of a sudden, the most beautiful Chinese woman approached him. She had a kind face, and he was instantly attracted to her and was shocked to hear her starting to speak English. She introduced herself, “Hi, my name is Jessica,” she said with a sweet smile.
Jessica told Brian how she was 31 years old and was a salesperson who worked in the nuts and bolt industry. She explained how she knew English because her job forced her to travel across the globe. They chatted for a while and Jessica asked Brian what he was doing that afternoon. Brian couldn’t believe such a pretty woman was asking him this, and he honestly didn’t have any concrete plans later. He figured what the heck, he’ll tell her the truth.
She, of course, invited Brian out for lunch and to have a few drinks with her. Brian couldn’t turn down such an offer from a beautiful lady, and he figured she was probably interested because of his foreigner status. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
Jessica Wasn’t Who She Appeared To Be
The pair went off in a tuk-tuk — a mini cab — and set off for a neighborhood about five minutes away. Jessica was buttering Brian up for what he should’ve noticed was for the slaughter. She attacked him with heaps of compliments about how intelligent he seemed and his appearance. “She was even complimentary about how nice it was that my face actually sweated because that meant I had healthy skin,” Brian recounted. He didn’t find it too strange, remembering how every Beijinger he’d encountered was amazed at how different he was, but he noted it was still a very strange compliment.
Brian wanted to remember his tuk-tuk ride and took out his phone to shoot video of them traveling down the road. Jessica quickly mentioned she’d be okay with him taking photos of the tuk-tuk, but to not take her picture. The reason why? Apparently, she’d been to a Buddhist temple that morning and it was considered offensive to the Buddha to have her picture taken the same day she’d gone to the temple. Brian knew that in some cultures, taking photos was strictly forbidden, but he still raised a slight eyebrow. Since he’d been to a temple in the city the day before, he asked her about the meaning of the three Buddha statues that were out front.
She answered, “There are many Buddhas. You have the big one, the fat one, the happy one… I don’t know all the names of them but you have different Buddhas for different professions.”
Brian couldn’t help but find it sketchy that for someone who practiced “Buddhism,” she couldn’t name a single figure. He let it slide though, believing some people were more into the idea of religion than the actual text. “How many Christians could name all the books of the Bible? All the apostles or saints? Fully explain the holy trinity?” He thought to himself. But what Brian didn’t realize is that Jessica was giving off some serious red flags that he should be paying attention to.
The Suspicious “Tea Room”
Brian noticed that Jessica wasn’t really directing the tuk-tuk driver like one normally would if they didn’t have a certain destination in mind. Brian decided he wouldn’t worry about it too much and instead relax and just be the passenger on this adventure. After all, he was there in Beijing to simply take in the sights of the city, and who was he to let this opportunity pass him by.
When Jessica finally told the tuk-tuk driver to stop, it was in an area Brian didn’t recognize, and the restaurant also didn’t have a clear sign to show what type of establishment Jessica had dragged him to. Brian tried not to think much of it, especially once they stepped inside and she mentioned there were plenty of options on the menu.
Once they walked in, the owner of the restaurant showed Brian and Jessica to a private room. Brian felt a little uncomfortable that he was in such an intimate setting with Jessica. The room they were in was very small and was obviously made for only two people to have complete privacy for, well, whatever two people do in private. The owner closed the door and Brian felt a sense of uneasiness rush over him. He chalked it up to him not completely understanding the Chinese culture and tried to push his feelings deep down. But there’s a reason why the saying goes, “You should always listen to your gut.”
The More Drinks, The Merrier, Right?
Jessica started ordering drinks for them, but Brian couldn’t help but notice the large number of drinks she’d ordered: two brewskis for her and Brian and two teas and a Coke for herself. Jessica started talking about how she’s a bookaholic and listed some fairly internationally known authors. Jessica and Brian then talked about what they like to do in their free time. Brian mentioned his love of gardening and even showed Jessica a video he’d taken of his garden. Seeing Brian’s garden reminded Jessica about the small town she grew up in where her parents were farmers. Brian noticed, within the small time they’d talk, that Jessica had already downed her adult beverage and even her Coke. Then she suddenly left to order a plate of dumplings for them, and she came back with ANOTHER Coke.
Hardly even five minutes later, the Coke was gone and Jessica said, “Let’s get some more drinks in us!” She ordered a bottle and placed two glasses down on the table, pouring themselves a big pour each. The conversation continued, but things started to take a more…flirtatious turn.
Jessica stared at Brian’s “muscles” and said, “You look very strong. You must work out a lot.” Jessica scooted closer to Brian and asked what sort of workouts he did to stay in such peak shape. Brian blushed a bit and shared how he sometimes would do push-ups, but it was more centered on yoga. Brian figured this would be the perfect time to show off his manly physique and started showing Jessica how to do “the proper technique” for his style of push-ups. Needless to say, Brian knew his ego was being stroked, but what guy doesn’t like that from time to time?
They continue talking and Jessica downed her glass, poured another, and slammed that too. Brian had hardly touched his drink, but Jessica smiled, topped him off, asking if he would like more. Brian politely nodded, which Jessica mistook as “let’s get another bottle.”
Another bottle down along with a Coke later, it was finally time for the check to come. When Brian looked at the total amount, his face went completely ghost white.
This Experience Definitely Was Far From Priceless
Brian stared at the bill. He couldn’t believe what he was reading: 3,500 yuan. Brian couldn’t immediately convert that in his head, but he knew that was definitely a hefty sum. Heck, his five-day stay at his fairly fancy hotel room was exactly 2,200 yuan. Brian, the poor grad student, realized at that moment that he truly had messed up. He immediately asked Jessica to pull out her phone to figure out exactly how much this mediocre meal was costing him.
$500. This meal that Brian only “kind of” enjoyed would cost him $500. He stared at Jessica in disbelief. She tried to brush away his concern and explained how in China, food is cheap while adult beverages are very expensive because of import taxes. Brian couldn’t help but glare at Jessica for egging him on to drink so many bottles then. Brian also sniffed out a lie because the bottles were very clearly written in Chinese characters, so the likelihood of them being “imported” were very slim. Something wasn’t adding up here and Brian didn’t like it one bit.
Brian examined the bill and saw that each item was added correctly, along with some very steep prices: the food and drinks were 500 yuan and the bottles, like how Jessica explained, were 1,500 yuan a piece. “Just look at the menu,” Jessica said. “I got the middle one. I got the middle one, not the expensive one, see?” Brian reminded Jessica those bottles were what SHE had ordered, but Jessica rebutted by saying he didn’t exactly say no. Brian couldn’t really argue with that, and he suddenly noticed out of the corner of his eye that the manager was silently standing in the doorway, obviously waiting for the bill to be paid. Brian told Jessica there was no way he’d pay more than $200 for this meal. Thankfully Jessica agreed and put most of the bill on her card. But the problem arose when the manager took Brian’s card, as it was declined. Brian panicked. The card had worked just a few days ago and he couldn’t believe it would just randomly decline now.
Brian felt very uncomfortable as they left the room to go to a different credit card reader, but sadly, his card was denied again. Jessica became frustrated and asked if Brian had any other cards. Brian didn’t want to use his emergency cards for this messed up situation, and he decided to tell a small white lie that he only had one debit card that had very little money on it. That card was also denied and Brian was forced to use all his physical yuan and US dollars to pay for the meal, while Jessica paid the remaining amount. Brian thanked Buddha for making what would’ve been a $500 meal into a $90 meal — still over budget, but, hey, it could be worse.
After this huge fiasco, Brian didn’t want to have anything to do with Jessica again. He decided she shouldn’t be his tour guide for the remainder of the day and that outing to different food vendors was NOT going to happen. Brian decided it was finally time to part ways. Jessica, despite her sketchy behavior before, was kind and unlocked a bike for Brian to use, and she even gave him directions to get to the bus stop near Tiananmen Square. They said their awkward goodbyes and Brian looked sadly at his wallet that only had 3 yuan left. The only way Brian was even able to get back to his hotel was thanks to his friend’s fiancé, who’d offered to give him a ton of credit on his bus card. Finally, back in his hotel room, Brian couldn’t believe how his new “friend” tried to swindle hundreds of dollars out of him.
Brian often thought back to his encounter with Jessica and wondered what the heck really went down.
“I think one of two plausible explanations happened:
The cynic in me says that I was had. The evidence for this was that she seemed to approach me out of the blue with a plan, didn’t want to have her picture taken for religious reasons of a religion she didn’t seem to understand, she seemed to know exactly where she was going, she drank all the drinks very quickly which would have worked to be able to order more, and she kept me in the dark about the ordering process, and seemed perfectly happy to let me pay even a medium portion of the bill. In this version, she probably receives some portion of the surplus on the meal so, in a sense, I was the dish.
The more optimistic/ generous to humanity part of me says that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. Perhaps she truly didn’t know that I would find such an expensive meal offensive and troubling. Perhaps she really did think including me in the price of things would offend my sense of pride. When she did figure out how I felt, she paid for things herself and helped me get back to where I needed to be to get home.
I think they are both reasonably likely.”
Whatever Jessica’s true intentions were, Brian was sure of one thing: he’d never let anyone order food for him ever again. It’s okay to fall for a pretty face, but make sure you’re not tripping over yourself trying to get with her.