What was I doing at the cop shop, I can’t tell you, it’s police business. OK I’m going to tell you. I’ve been there four times in the past week. This time I was doing lunch.
I’m a licensed drone pilot, and I wanted to get registered to fly in Thailand. Here you can go to the local police who will pass on the application to the Civil Aviation Authority and also National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, which apparently takes a few months to process. It’s a massive hassle to get a permit in Thailand, more so than in Australia surprisingly, but I do like that I’ve only seen one guy with a drone so far in my four weeks here. They’re not buzzing around dangerously close to people like back home in Sydney.
A couple of days ago I was at the station (this was attempt 2, attempt one was the weekend and they told me to come back Monday) and saw a tuk tuk driver waiting in there. This guy had tried to rip me off the other day, so I walked up to him and cheekily said “So you’re in trouble again for ripping off passengers”. He just nodded at me. (I like how no one knows I’m being facetious here). There were a few people waiting to see the admin cop, so I decided to come back the next day.
I said "Say cheese", so they started looking round for cheese
Which brings me to attempt four. I was taken away from the main building to the back office by a senior officer. What did he want from me, was he going to deputise me to help solve an especially heinous island crime?
Out the back we tried to communicate. No one at the police station speaks English. Only a couple of words, so we use google translate and grunting with some hand signals to communicate. Not sure what was really being said but they told me to come back (AGAIN!) for what I oddly thought was a lunch invite and also to take pictures of their police station. I fully understand the words “gin kaow” which means eat food – being half Thai these were important words for me to know as a boy. That’s all I could assume from our communications.
Just before I left, the police chief was walking in, and the less senior cops were all saying to me “BOSS BOSS BOSS”. Hilarious. So anyway I came back at 12 and headed out to the back of the station, the senior officer greeted me and led me to the table to sit down for lunch with a dozen or so cops. It was just a weird and amusing situation! I wanted to take a group photo but thought I might be pushing it. So I just took this food shot. Noodles, beef curry, and some sort of vegetable curry. Very hot. I liked it and had seconds.
So after lunch we grunted a bit because I was very confused and wasn’t sure if the senior officer was telling me to go home or to fly the drone, so I got out google translate again, which confirmed that he wanted me to take some shots of the station. The last thing I asked him on translate was “I don’t have a permit yet, please don’t put me in jail?” They laughed. So we went off to the open area out back of the station and I set up the bird in front of about ten cops. What happened after that is classified police business.
So do I have my permit now and are they doing anything with all the paperwork I provided? Who knows.
The cop was really a good guy and said I could come back for lunch any time. At least that’s how I interpreted it! I’m laughing a bit about all this. It has really added to what I love about Thailand experiences.