After an eventful overnight train journey we were disgorged into a very foreign Sunday morning. Not a single sign in Prague’s main train terminal was in friendly English, or any other language we could make out; not even an exit sign. The station was haunted by solitary figures standing, smoking, watching, waiting. It took us half an hour to find a dismal tourist information booth. The grouchy attendant, stingy with his every word, pushed a map at us through a slit in his glass barrier and considered himself done. Averse to bribing a public servant, we persisted with our questions, formulating the same query in endless shapes. Finally, we extracted this gem: taxi fare to our hotel ought to be two hundred koruna, about six dollars.
The taxi drivers had something else in mind.
“Meter,” they said, “more fair.”
Our bags were loaded into the trunk and we got in.
“About how much,” we asked.
“Meter,” the driver insisted. Again we pressed for an estimate, and the driver finally said seven hundred. Seven hundred! Out we got, and out with our bags. The driver said something to the other waiting taxi drivers, and we were certain we wouldn’t get a ride from any of them. So we walked.
A few blocks down the street we flagged down a passing taxi. He too, suggested the meter. We said c’mon, about how much. Three hundred, he said. Okay. We watched the meter start spinning. No way was it a legal spin. As the meter crept to four hundred, we protested, and the driver agreed to a flat three hundred.
“The taxi drivers wanted seven hundred koruna!” I exclaimed in outrage to the hotel receptionist.
“They are thieves,” was his simple reply.
But they were not the thieves we were interested in.
Excerpt from Travel Advisory: How to Avoid Thefts, Cons, and Street Scams
Chapter Two (part-i): Research Before You Go