We have been given a third indication of the price for our meal and this time it’s almost twice as expensive as the other two, despite the fact that almost nothing has been added. This new (very high) price seems plucked out of thin air. We were very angry at first but have let it sink in a little and if there is one thing we know how to do from traveling to places like Mexico and Indonesia (Anne), China and India (me) it’s how to negotiate a price.
I’m used to going somewhere with a price in mind for an item which is often ridiculously low, but then starting the haggling even lower. Then they give you a price which is the exact opposite. So high that meeting in the middle would be paying too much. and then seeing if you can get the lowest possible price. You achieve this by calling the vendor your friend. He calls you his best friend from Holland. He calls out Van Persie! Sneijder! You smile accepting is infinite knowledge of your country of residence. You raise your price slightly in respect. He lowers his by a fraction. you raise, he lowers, you threaten to walk away he calls in support from his ‘cousin’ in the next stall. numbers are exchanged on a dusty Casio calculator or a piece of paper. until finally you reach an agreement. And even if the amount you end up paying is miniscule you still leave feeling like you’ve overpaid.
This is what it feels like negotiating with the people from our location. They maybe Dutch and look like civilized people, but they may well be standing on a souk somewhere in Marrakesh. But this is different because we are not discussing fake Roleks(TM) watches and Tomy Hilfinger polo shirts, but our wedding day and we are already giving them a fair amount of cash so to me there seems no need to try and play us for unwitting tourists who don’t know how to convert the currency properly.
We will sort something out in the end, but this is getting very old very fast.