Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The day I was almost arrested!

So not a lot happened other than one particular thing: Me almost getting arrested! So the story went:

Me, Katie and Menka were going to help drop mine and Menka’s bags at Devyn and Tanya’s place as we were both checking out. I was moving into the girls room. So we went downstairs to payup and I found out they’d used my deposit for the two guys (I paid their deposits when we checked in but the hostel put a note on it saying that it was my money and it would come off of my bill). Instead whoever had been on the morning the guys both checked out, had failed to notice this note and so used the 50,000 deposit as part of the money for their bills. So I ended up having to pay an extra 100,000 on top of my room price. I even checked their bills and everything and yup, the guesthouse had given my money away!

Naturally I was peeved off and refused to pay the 40,000 extra to cover my room as it was their mistake. So me and the girls left but they came following us down the street and were harassing us, kept grabbing me so I said I’d get the police involved if they touched me another time. So in the end they also wanted to take it to the tourist police, so we obliged. Katie took my bags to the hotel room and me and Menka went to the police station.

After about half hour of exasperating explanations, not being understood and a lot of anger, the tourist police naturally sided with the locals. So I coughed up the 40,000, thinking I’d go back to our hotel from the first night to find out the guys last names so I could Facebook them to see if I could get the money back. As you can imagine, I was a little angry and so on the way out of the police station, I accidently opened the door too hard on the way out, as it said pull instead of push and I hurt my arm pushing so opened it hard (took out my frustration on the door) big mistake and boy was I to learn from that mistake...

The Police took it as inappropriate behaviour that I was too angry (presenting too much anger is actually breaking a Laos Law of Conduct, as is wearing a bikini and being too affectionate in public) and on our way out they ran out, pushed Menka out the way onto the ground, grabbed me, forced me to the ground then carried me back inside where they tied my hands up with rope and then handcuffed me to the chair. They then refused to tell me what I'd done wrong, went through my bags and took my passport and said they weren't giving it back and to come back at 2pm.

Katie came back just as this happened and she tried her best to get out of them what was going on but the chief of police wasn’t very respondent and was just getting more and more angry, so we decided it was best to go and come back at 2pm. During this time though, an Australian hippy dude came in and made the situation worse, by coming in and shouting, “woah, lets just calm down a minute, why is everyone not happy, we should be happy man, it’s a beautiful day!” Which almost got himself arrested because they thought he was with me and we were about to initiate a heist or something lol. So they told him to sit down and be quiet which he did looking like a deer caught in headlights.

So we went back to the hotel and Menka and Katie went off to their waterfall trip, while Devyn, Sabrina and Julie went to the caves. Tanya said she’d come back with me at 2pm so we waited around and she and I both discussed perhaps letting the British Embassy know what went on, in case they tried charging me tons of money to get my passport back. So I emailed the embassy in Vientiane, and a guy called Chris emailed me back to call him right away. This was 15mins before I had to go back to the police station, I tried to call him from the guesthouse but couldn’t, tried skype, couldn’t use my mobile as it had no credit. So instead I wrote him an email saying I was headed to the station, to contact me there if he can.

And thank god he did because when we came in the police looked at me all cockily and went to a back room to ‘discuss’. Me and Tanya heard a few words that may have ended up in me being heavily fined for my passport back. Just as they came in, Chris rang from the embassy, asking to talk to me. He told me to just comply with whatever they asked of me, apologise and hopefully they won’t charge me. He said that they had two reports this month of the same thing happening and they legally were not allowed to confiscate Her Majesty’s passport, or handcuff someone without having made a formal arrest first. They really didn’t like me talking to the embassy and seemed taken aback by me having contacted them, and as soon as they heard it was the embassy their faces dropped – haha I’m not the stupid tourist you think I am suckers! So after that they just wanted me to apologise, and I ended up having to write 3 paragraphs saying I will never get angry in Laos again, I am very sorry, I realise I have broken a Laos code of conduct etc etc. They then gave me back my passport, fine-free!

Then after, me and Tanya just spent the day in the room, chilling, eating at the amazing JoMa bakery, until Devyn and the girls came back from the caves. We’d all planned to go out that evening but no one really felt up to it, so instead we just went to the night market for our nightly vegetarian feast, tried some weird but tasty coconut sweets – they were like tiny balls of pancake mixture, which had coconut in it, fried, but still gooey on the inside – delish! We then said our goodbyes to Katie and headed back to the room and chilled, skyped and had an earlish night. There was a god-awful thunderstorm again and I actually almost crapped my pants, because the lightening was so frequent it was like flashbulbs going off and every time a massive flash of lightening happened, it almost instantly followed with the LOUDEST thunder I have ever heard! They say every time lightening claps at the same time as thunder, it has struck something, well, let me tell you, it must have hit something every time it flashed! We all woke up and were scared together, eventually it stopped around 4am so we could get some sleep!

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