Watching the Detectives…

29 Mar

So, as promised, someone is going to take me to the police station this morning. We’ve actually got a policeman that speaks English (and sits at a desk surrounded by dictionaries – which must mean he’s the tourist police, an impression rapidly confirmed by a big badge that says ‘Tourist Police’ on it)


‘So, what do you need from me’?’ he asks. I rapidl flip through the available responses, I decide that ‘my passport and wallet’ would be too flip, so settle for ‘a signed report so I can go to the embassy and claim on my insurance’. Having filled one report in, I fill in another, being very careful not to make any mistakes (crossing out is not allowed).

All seems well, until he notices that the place of incident is recorded as Ban Luang. ‘But you do not know this’, he protests. ‘You must fill in another form’. It seems this will affect the statistics for the province. I patiently demonstrate that I can change the form by writing ‘on the road from Stung Treng to Ban Luang’ instead. This seems to satisfy him, until he decides that the last official witnesses to the presence of my passport were the border patrol. And that it’s possible that maybe I snuck across the border illegally.

At this point, I am marshalling all my resources to keep my peace. It seems he would like me to return to Stung Treng (which isn’t the border, by the way – it’s just not his province) and talk to the police there. Having taken five days to find a policeman who speaks English, I am reluctant to start the whole process again, so I smile and stay put.  I don’t mind going to Stung Treng – it’s on the way to Phnom Penh – but I don’t want to take a day (or more) visiting the police there. I’m also concerned that the police in Stung Treng will decide that I need to go back to Ban Luang, turning this whole thing into an inter-province table tennis match. Considering that all I need is a piece of paper to show my insurers, I think this is pretty pointless.

Eventually, he does agree to contact the border, and sends me off to lunch (lunch is a very serious kip time over here). Still waiting for the credit card, but I am hopeful for tomorrow….

Over lunch, I get a phone call. The policeman is now confused. Having told him my nationality (English) and after he write down ‘UK’ – he now believes me to be Ukrainian. The border police are even more confused. A few words of explanation, and showing my passport on my Kindle (darned clever, this technology stuff) and they decide they can cope with GBR.

And, finally, I have a piece of paper that says that I genuinely did lose my passport and wallet (place unknown) written lovingly in Khmer… and now, once my credit card has arrived… I am off!

It’s actually been a good break. I have done some planning, recorded a new product that I will tell you all about soon.. and converted my book for Kindle format. Perhaps I did just need to stop.. and think.. and do some stuff..


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