Saturday, January 13, 2007

Cops & Robbers

This is going to be a long entry because I haven't time to write a short one.

The evening started off well. We went to Khao San with Jess, PK and Bec, and met up with some of the teachers they work with, and Jess's friends Nicky & Chris (who we'd met on Ko Phangan). We started the evening at the Reggae bar (which, though we call it the Reggae bar, isn't actually the Reggae bar, it's next door to the Reggae bar and is really the Harley bar – although since we use 'bar' in a fairly loose sense, meaning essentially a sort of booth with some seating on the soi (lane), they pretty much blend into one). Then Nicky, Chris, Casandra and I went to Gulliver's to dance to some cheesy choons for a bit. At 1am we arranged to meet back up with the others at Sunset, but they weren't there when we arrived so I left my phone with Nicky & Chris in case they texted, and Cas & I went to MacDonald's for something to eat. When we got up to leave, I stooped to pick up my bag. No bag. Ah ******.

Cas made me agree to report it to the police – I knew they wouldn't care (imagine how many tourist get robbed on Khao San road every night), but I knew I'd need a police reference number if I wanted to claim on the insurance. So off we went. We arrived at the police tent the same time as another chap, who'd had his wallet stolen. He was told to go to room 6 inside the police station, so we headed there, and arrived first.

Now, something you need to know about Thailand is that they don't respond to anger, frustration and impatience (they see it as a sign of weakness), so I smiled politely and calmly explained my unfortunate situation. There were three cops behind a long desk, each conforming to stereotype so perfectly you just couldn't make it up. On the left was the rookie, who looked about 14 but presumably has finished school. On the right, the grouchy older cop who looked as though he was fed up of getting the Friday night shift and having to deal with dozy farangs who get themselves robbed or beaten up or otherwise inconvenienced. In the centre, the geeky, bespectacled one who knew a little English. So I managed to make myself clear that I wanted a police report of the theft in order to claim on the insurance: “police report... Er... Crime reference number... Er... You write it down, yes?” and there followed a long discussion covering the details of the bag and its contents, my name, address, phone number, occupation (always get it in that I'm a teacher), age (huh?), income (hang on...). The address bit proved a mite complicated, since my address in Thailand is written in my notebook, in the bag, and they wouldn't accept the school as an address, so I had to give them my UK address, helping them transliterate it into Thai script, which involved three people: Grouchy Cop writing, Geek Cop listening and helping him, and me speaking veeerrrry sloooowwwly, one syllable at a time, and approving each consonant as he wrote them (but having no clue about the vowels, of course).

Meanwhile the other guy (Gary or something) who'd lost his wallet was getting impatient. Turns out he's a met officer (I mean metropolitan police, not weatherman), and for some reason expected this fact to pull some weight with the Thai police. We cringed as he reminded the officers of the Tsunami (when British police were sent over to help out). The cops smiled courteously, and looked back to me, unhurriedly continuing to fill out the report. Meanwhile, Cas and I were having a great time teasing Geek Cop and Rookie Cop (Grouchy Cop didn't look as though he'd take it too kindly, and in any case he didn't speak a word of English), and asking Geek Cop if I could wear his police hat. Gary was getting more frustrated, even threatening to get himself arrested (yeah mate, that'll get your story heard), and kept demanding “is it my turn yet? I've been waiting ages!” until eventually Geek Cop looked at him, smiled and told him, “She is more beautiful. You wait.” (recounting this to Smile later, he grinned and commented, “ah, that is Thai police”).

Eventually, at 2:30, the report was finished. Geek Cop handed me his hat, Gary took a photo of Cas and me, and it was finally his turn to be seen, as Cas and I headed back to Sunset to meet the others, where we sat for a while recounting our visit to the police station. An hour or so later, having realised that of course my keys were in my bag, we were just making arrangements to stay at Jess & PK's should we arrive home and find the house empty, when my phone rang:

“Where are you?”
“Er, Bangkok” (I'm used to getting random calls, but usually they ask "what yonem?")
“I know Bangkok. Where are you? This is police. We find your bag.”
“You found it? I'll be right there!” and then, realising that this was probably beyond his level of English, I added, “I come! I come!”

And so off we dashed back up the road to the police station, flew down the corridor and tumbled into room 6, where Geek Cop proudly holds up my handbag. The camera's gone (of course), as is the little cash from my wallet (of course), but my cards (even including driving license) are all present and correct, my keys are there (although they took my mini maglite keyring! I can't believe they stole my keyring! I sound like Murph!) together with all the other miscellanea that I carry around.

We run back down the road to Sunset, to be greeted with cheers all round. Eventually we agree it's time to go home, so six people pile into a taxi and head for Nonthaburi. Finally we fall into bed at 5am.

You'd think that would be the end of the story, but two hours later I'm woken up by my phone ringing. Huh?

“Are you asleep?”
What kind of opener is that? “Yes I'm asleep”
“Is police,” and he goes on to explain that I have to go back and fill in a new report, since my bag was found. Could I come at 12 noon tomorrow, Sunday (as far as I was concerned it was still Friday night, so it was a good thing he clarified what he meant by “tomorrow”). Fine, whatever, just let me go back to sleep.


At 3:14 pm, Anonymous Dddy said...

Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loiser de la faire plus courte. Blaise Parcal 1623-1662 Lettres Provinciales 1657. I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

At 3:16 pm, Anonymous dddy said...

I think we should see the pic of Lotty in a policeman's hat

At 8:44 am, Blogger Mother said...

Better robbed than mugged. Well done Cassie for getting you to the cops. Have crime report, now claim. You paid enough for the insurance after all.


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