Istanbul Strip Club Scam with Tourists

Istanbul Strip Club Scam with Tourists

I completely realize my actions were dumb on the night in question and I was asking for trouble, yet I was drunk and held myself well in the confrontation. Maybe the story will serve as a warning to other drunk tourists in Istanbul.

I will mention the fact that I had suit pants, black shoes and a nice shirt on with my hair slicked back. Even though I was hitchhiking at the time I still had got to a hostel and cleaned myself up that day, I definitely was walking around “looking” like a tourist who had money to spend and not a hitchhiker or student.

So on the night in question I was sitting with my pal Connor from Scotland at a Hookah Bar in Istanbul, well there was a girl there too. An Asian chick chatting with Connor, I got up to leave them some privacy because I’m a top drawer wing-man. I also really needed to use an ATM. The ATM in question was a little walk away, maybe 500 meters up the road.

After I withdrew cash a guy pulled up nearby on the road in a nice saloon car, the type of car in question I can’t remember. I was already drunk at this stage.

“Hey, excuse me… do you speak English” he shouted.

“Ye sure, will you drop me back to my friend” I answered.

“OK but do you know where the something hotel is?” Obviously he didn’t say “something” but I can’t remember the exact name he said to be honest and I didn’t know any directions.

Anyway we chatted for a few minutes then he dropped me back, he claimed to be from Kazakhstan and work for Andrea Agnelli (the Italian who owns Juventus F.C.)

When I got out of the car he offered to bring me and Connor to a party and the hotel with many “bitches”. I knew this was a shady deal but Connor was also drunk now and the Asian girl wasn’t sticking around so we were ready for adventure.

Half an hour later we pulled up at a strip-club. This clearly wasn’t a Hotel but I didn’t car because our new friend claimed he would take care of us (i.e. free drink and food). A Turkish guy approached him when he got out of the car and they haggled in Turkish (at least that’s how it appeared) over the price of parking the car in the certain spot.

In we went and sat at a booth, bottles of wine were brought, nuts, cucumbers, you name it. The party ensued and three ladies joined us each drinking from the wine too and sharing our cigarettes.

The place really appeared legit, there were many other Turkish customers sitting and chatting to girls, none of which were topless. Maybe it’s just Muslim strip-clubs but I can hardly call it a strip club when the girls were pole dancing with their tops on.

My girl claimed to be Ukranian, I said how are you in Russian and she looked confused (red flag #1). I told her Connor and the Kazak guy were my business friends, she looked annoyed when I said this (red flag #2, she obviously knew the Kazak guy had picked us up because he’s done this before).

Now I kind of knew what was up but I kept playing along, figuring I couldn’t leave (big bouncer at the door) so I might aswell drink as much of their wine as possible.

Eventually the time came for them to try and fuck us over, Connor was happily flirting away with his girl and I with mine when the bill arrived. 10,000 euros apparently, the Kazak guy turned to us and asked for our cards, the bill was getting split 3-ways according to him.

“”Fuck off, we havent any money”

“Why would you come here with no money? Do you know who I am? Of course you pay, you think your mafia or something?”

I couldn’t believe he was pretending to be Mafia, the Kazak really was pathetic. Next thing he punched me right on the chin as I sat there. Anyone from Ireland has been punched on a night out, this guys punch was really crap (and he was being careful not to leave a bruise I quickly noted). He specifically aimed for the chin.

Another punch, this one to my ear (again nowhere that would leave a bruise).

He hadn’t hit Connor at all, I guessed it was because Connor is huge and I was the cheeky one.

Anyway next thing Connor pulls out his cash €200 in fifties,

“This is all we have”

What the fuck I thought, he’s not getting our money with gay punches like that, I quickly snatched the cash and stuffed it into my boxers. The Kazak went crazy at this and demanded the money.

“Fuck off, you think a few punches is worth €200, I’ll give you €10 at the most for the shitty wine”

Now the Kazak was losing it, the bouncer quickly arrived over telling him to calm down (though it was obvious they worked together). The strip-club manager soon arrived too demanding to be paid the €10,000. I knew they wouldn’t create a scene in front of the customers so I kept on winding the Kazak up, I can remember even claiming I would petrol bomb his car. Meanwhile he threw a few more punches, so I stood up, as did Connor (who is also over 6 foot) and squared up to him.

The manager called me aside into the corner not wanting a scene. He gave me the “what are you doing here” bla bla bla treatment. He demanded my bank card.

“I haven’t got any money, I’m in Turkey because I was in Bulgaria and its cheap, I’m not here to see Mosques”

He demanded to see my wallet, (I had emptied it while at the couch into my pocket and stuffed one of the fifties into it, I figured this would be a fair price to get out on.

He cursed in Turkish, taking the fifty and told me to leave immediately. Outside the same guy from earlier whom the Kazak had haggled with was standing by his car to make sure it wasn’t vandilised.

That’s that, we got away with just spending fifty quid (about 3 bottles of wine drank). I never panicked however and kept the rest of the cash in my boxers, the only way I would of produced it is if they had a knife, which they never did.

I bet they have scammed big sums of money from other tourists doing this though. The important thing is to just stand your ground and exhaust them, also be a young guy so you can convince them your only a student.

I was annoyed at the fact there were other legit customers in the club though who knew this was happening to tourists and didn’t care in the slightest.


Do You Need a Return Flight to Enter the US

Do you need a return flight to enter the US

I done some research on whether or not an ESTA tourist visa holder needed a return ticket already booked to get through US customs. Since I plan on travelling onto Canada or Mexico via hitch-hiking I didn’t have proof of onward plans and I needed some answers.

Imagine getting to the US and then having to turn around and return home because I never showed proof that I wasn’t planning on finding a job in the US and staying.

From what my research of the rules told me was that I couldn’t say I was travelling to Canada or Mexico or any island of the Caribbean after the US unless I was a citizen of one of these countries. In fact a booked flight to any of these countries would not suffice to enter the US. Custom’s would think I was scouting for work then flying to Canada and sneaking back over the border into the US.

The rules don’t specify that you must have a return flight to your home however, so I booked the cheapest one possible that wasn’t Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean. It was Miami to San Salvador for €60. Hopefully it would count as proof I was leaving the US (even if I didn’t plan on using the flight).

To get to the US I flew from Dublin to London and then to Boston. At the airport in London when I checked in with Virgin Atlantic at their desk a lady asked to see my return flight ticket. I think she works for Virgin Atlantic’s security team.

I told her I was backpacking central Europe then flying home after that, she asked to see the flight details for my flight to San Salvador which I had printed out.

She was satisfied with this and my boarding pass was printed. She did study the flight details for a minute or two first and asked a couple questions about why I was travelling alone.

In the US the customs fingerprinted me and asked me what my plans were. They didn’t ask to see my onward flight details here.

Then I was in, I saved a lot of money not having to buy a return flight to Ireland.

Without the printed flight documentation for San Salvador I don’t think I could have got onto the Virgin Atlantic plane in London. Best to be prepared if your planning a similar journey.