We are eight weeks into our trip (!!) and in about a week we’ll be finished with the Southeast Asia portion. SE Asia is infamous for the scams targeting tourists and, thankfully aside from a few rouge taxis, we have managed to avoid all but one.
That one is the knockoff-bakery-cum-fake-charity in Varanasi, India.
Brown Bread Bakery is a real restaurant in Varanasi (the first organic bakery and restaurant) that supports a real life charity called Learn for Life, proving education for impoverished children to help break the cycle of poverty. Read more about Brown Bread and Learn for Life here: http://bakerybreadbrown.blogspot.com/
Unfortunately, Ryan and I stumbled into a fake version. They have the similar signs and are a mere 10 meters down the road from each other. The fake Brown Bread has the same menu (although many items are “unavailable” since they aren’t actually a bakery) and will even take “donations” meant for Learn for Life, but pocket them instead! This fake restaurant is owned by the unscrupulous ex-business partners of the REAL Brown Bread who are just using the name of a good restaurant and charity to make more money for themselves.
I hope Karma takes notice.
We spent less than $10 at the fake Brown Bread, but it was still heartbreaking when we walked out to the real one and to find out the situation. The real Brown Bread has a rooftop seating area, four floors total, and a shop area on the ground floor selling muesli and other organic wares.
We didn’t do our research and have felt pretty down about it, but lesson learned.