I could use a book like that, because when it comes to bartering, I definitely qualify as a dummy. But I get the sense that it could be a lot worse, so maybe I shouldn’t complain.
We took a taxi from our hotel to the gates at Petra. Before we left we asked how much the fare would be, and were told six Dinar each way. I suspect the rate given by the hotel was at the upper end of the official range. I was thinking that it might even have been the most that you could ask for with a straight face. Was I ever wrong on that one.
The taxi ride to the gates went without a hitch. I gave the driver six Dinar, plus a tip, and we were on our way. The return trip was a different story. We were tired and dusty after a long, but enjoyable, day in Petra, so we decided to take a taxi rather than wait for the free hotel shuttle.
Before we got into the taxi, I asked what the fare would be. He started to say ten, caught himself, and said twelve Dinar. I guess he figured we were tired enough to pay a premium. All I could do was raise my eyebrows and ask “seriously?” When that didn’t work, I explained that I had just paid six Dinar a few hours earlier. In the end, I held firm and we agreed on seven Dinar, including the tip. But I felt that perhaps I had been a bit too harsh. Until the driver started asking where we were going next, and offered to take us all the way to Aqaba (about an hour and a half drive) for only 40 Dinar. And that was his opening bid. I think he did quite well on the fare to the hotel.
I don’t have a picture of the barter session, but I do have one of me high on the hills around Petra, enjoying the view. It is a place you really should see. But be prepared to barter for your taxi ride.