Well, I got arrested this morning and it was the WORST possible time. At least I wasn’t charged. Gotta love this part of the world, if you have money, you can do what you like. Long morning but an experience all the same. A tattoo and a deportation is all I have left to do on my list. (Well, I am excluding waking up with someone older than my mother for obvious reasons)
Got up early this morning and decided I’d rent a motorbike and go see the city. After getting lost I came to a pretty busy junction. Only one problem, there were no traffic lights. Everyone stopped and I was waiting to turn right at the top of the queue. I was waiting for SOME sort of sign to go and I got it…. the cars behind me started beeping. So I just drove and turned right. WOW, I have never heard so much whistling and shouting in all my life. I knew I did something wrong and I stopped. Good job because there were 3 police men on me within seconds.
“You speak Lao Falang?” he questioned. “Mai Dai, bas putt nitnoy Thai” I replied. (I don’t, but I speak a little Thai”). He proceeded to tell me what I did wrong, as much as I could understand anyway, and I was supposed to wait for the green light that DID NOT EXIST to turn green.
I smiled (As per lonely planet instructions) and I laughed a little too and it seemed to diffuse the situation a little, or maybe that was in my head. Anyway, he made me wheel the bike a few doors down to the police station where he brought me into a room with another new man. At this stage I began to shit myself a li’l.
After asking him to “Putt Tcha-Tcha noy Khrap, Phom mai Kow-Jai” (“Speak slowly please, I do not understand”) he went through it about 20 times. He was waiting for something from me. But me being the idiot, did not know what.
He then asked me for my passport. WOW, BIG PROBLEM. My Visa expired today (This morning actually) and I had no outgoing ticket to produce, so that was me in even worse books.
He told me I had to pay the fine for the traffic offence and the passport offence and that I had to stay tonight and call my embassy. I was shitting! Then he started going on about the same thing as earlier. He tried another three times then it finally hit me. Remembering the time in Bangkok with the smoking offence, I said ‘Ahhhhhhhh, Jet Roy Bhat!” which caused some smiles and a proceeding hushing.
I felt like Homer Simpson when him and Bart became Carnies and Chief Wigum came to shut down the Stall.
I took out the money and handed it to him (It worked out at about 14 euro) and he said ‘Mai Aw! Mai Aw!”. Confused I looked at him. He gestured to the floor. Filled with the fear of looking stupid, I put the money on the floor. The two men, one a silent party until now, smiled, gave me a ‘Khop Jai li li” (“Th ank you very much”), shook my hand and presented me with the door, which I was VERY happy to be walking out of.
I know it was not a big offence, but I was so happy that I learned my lesson. I could have saved myself an hour and a half waiting and feeling scared if I had have just given them the money in the first place on the street.
Moral of the story? “If you are western, a small ‘GIFT’ goes a long way and saves a lot of time”.
Anyway, as a result of my little incident, I realized that I need to get out of this place or pay a $5 a day extension fee. If I go down to friendship bridge (The border crossing to Thailand) I can cross, come back and get a 15 day visa for $30. It seems like theres no options for someone who only wants to stay a couple of more days. I need to know what the story is with people wanting to meet up with me in Bangkok so I know how much time I have here. I need to go to Pakse then to Don Det (Not that many of you know where the hell that is! OR EVEN CARE!)
I’ll keep you all updated if anyone is bothered.
Regarding Vientiene, Its a nice little city. Very small but confusing.All along teh river, it kinda reminds me of Saigon (HCMC). Dry season akes teh river look quite ugly though.
I’m staying in a weird little dorm right now. Thees a 71 year old man, a weird Japanese guy and some Swedish and Australians. Everyone seems pretty old though. I’m on a loner buzz right now so I politely declined their offer to come to the market with them. I’ll feel a bit bad if I see them there later but I’m sure they will understand.
I’m in the process of uploading some more photos of Laos. Ill upload a couple from Vang Vieng right now. Check out the photo section if you’r interested in more Laos and some more birthday photos.