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I Had The Cops Called On Me In Australia For Taking This Photo 

He called my bluff.

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WANDANDIAN, Australia- I saw the words “Wandandian,” written on a convenient store and I snapped a photo of it. The name sounded like that of a Chinese quicky mart, and I write about such things. This was just a gas station on the side of the highway that I stopped at to get a cup of coffee, and I didn’t know yet that the village that I was in was called Wandandian, not the shop.

However, that has little to do with this story.

After I snapped the photo the convenient store worker — a young Indian guy — came storming out asking why I took a photo. I figured he was just bored or curious. So I told him what I do.

But then he became a little aggressive.

“You have to ask permission to take a photo first. You can’t just take a picture of something without asking permission. This is very bad. This is very bad,” he began, acting more like I robbed the place than merely snapping a photo of its exterior.

Was this guy serious?

I asked him. He was.

“You should know that you can’t just take a picture of something. That is illegal,” he kept going.

I disputed his claims that taking a photo of a building from the side of the road was a legal offense.

But he kept going on and on about my “crime,” distracting me from pouring my much needed cup of coffee.

He then demanded to see my credentials. I informed him that he was a clerk at a quicky mart in the middle of nowhere and that I would do no such thing.

“Then we have a very big problem,” he responded. “This is a very, very big problem.”

He wouldn’t shut up. I decided to end the irritating exchange.

“If it’s illegal to take a photo then call the fucking police.”

He really did.

I told clerk to go fuck himself and left before the police could arrive … if they would even respond to such a call. I’m sure that even the cops out in Wandandian have better things to do than give spiteful/frightened/underachieving/bored/douchbaggy immigrants a momentary big man fix.

No, I didn’t get my cup of coffee.


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Filed under: Australia, Photography, Travel Diary

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3720 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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