Just prior to a visit to the Royal Palace in Bangkok a local warned us about littering. I suppose he'd seen foreigners littering and knew of the repercussions. However, having grown up in Canada and lived through many anti-littering campaigns it was the last thing on my mind. You just don't litter. But cigarette butts, well... not that I'm a smoker but at the time one person in our group was and what better place to dispose of a butt but down a sidewalk grate?
Ten minutes later what looked like a bus shelter that contained a desk on the edge of a busy sidewalk took on a whole new meaning as we stood dutifully before the police officer unsure of what the punishment was. When asked our country of origin I noted that his smile slipped when we said Canada and his finger trailed down the list of countries. Trying to read upside down in Thai is a sure guarantee of failure. I suspect, and this is only a guess, that the fines were country of origin specific. We walked away many dollars lighter and with a new addition to the list of rules on what littering really means.
Oh, did I mention that on that day too, the King's limo had to stop suddenly as it barely missed running over someone in our small group. I remember the face in the windscreen looking royally PO'd. I anticipated, then that there might be repercussions. But the car continued on as if a commoner had not dared to touch the car of royalty's gleaming hood. Of course, it was minutes before the issue of the cigarette and the fine. And no, I don't think one was tied to the other. It was just one of those days, one made for entries in the book "What Not to do When Overseas."
And the ticket?
...that has become a travel souvenir or should I say badge of honor?
And the experience?
...destined to make the tales of remember when, or even
some day, into a story.
Any, oops in your travels?
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