The Motorcycle Accident

Even in tiny Edens, serpents can be found; in my case, the fanged culprit was a small Honda scooter (piloted by the owner of my bungalow, and with me riding pillion). I had earlier opted to forego the use of a scooter on this idyllic isle, figuring that most of my fellow riders would be woefully inexperienced, as well as unused to driving on the left side of the road. Couple that with narrow unmarked pathways, and a complete lack of “rules of the road” (other than the general rule of driving in Asia, “me first”), and all in all I felt safer walking. That said, the birthday party scheduled for later that evening was on the other side of the island, and that would have entailed walking a couple of miles on badly illuminated roads after dark, so I capitulated when Remo offered me a ride. It was a decision I would come to regret within minutes, as he downshifted abruptly and accelerated to negotiate a steep grade. The combination of the hill, too much gas, and the unaccustomed passenger on the back sent the front wheel of the scooter into the air with gusto, much in the manner that the wonder horse Silver reared during the opening credits of “The Lone Ranger”. Unfortunately, I was a) not prepared for this in any form or fashion, and b) not gifted with the coordination of the aforementioned Ranger, so I was dumped rather unceremoniously onto my bottom, which made contact with the rough pavement with what seemed to me to be a resounding thud. A cursory examination of the affected area seemed to suggest that nothing had been broken, apart perhaps from my desire to continue on to the birthday party, so I re-boarded another scooter for the few-hundred-meter trip back to my bungalow (the thought of getting on another scooter was singularly unappealing, but the thought of walking back was even more so); there I retired for the night, liberally dosed with aspirin, and found my way into a fitful sleep.

By morning, the pain had subsided a bit, although I had what could only be described as an epic bruise, about the size of a saucer (if anything, I am under-exaggerating here), in shades of purple, pink and red that would have done justice to a Los Angeles sunset. Sorry, no pictures. Although I had planned to leave the island within the following couple of days, I decided to postpone my return to Bangkok until I felt a bit more up for an overnight bus trip, which is not something my posterior would welcome even at the best of times. In the event, I wound up securing a place on a luxo-bus with seats which reclined almost flat, so the trip was really pretty gentle, all things considered, and I arrived in Bangkok, if not in total comfort, at least not in screaming pain. Now, two weeks on, the bruise is still there, although only a shadow of its former self, its initial aubergine hue having faded to the muted chartreuse of, say, pea soup, with small bits of ham strewn here and there throughout. I can still feel a bit of tenderness from time to time, but I am basically back to about 98%, for which I am inordinately thankful. It could have been exponentially worse.

I wasn’t wearing a helmet, although it must be said that a helmet would not have helped much in this case; also, I have yet to see a helmet sized to fit my butt. Still, the down time has given me the opportunity to reconsider my long-held anti-helmet stance; while I still would not support a law requiring the use of a helmet, I will wear one from this point forward when riding a motorcycle. Close calls can often have that sort of “wake-up call” effect. Surprisingly, I had no other injuries, no dents, no dings, no road rash. Even my camera made it through intact. Remo, who was riding barefoot, suffered a few small scratches on his feet and ankles, but was otherwise unscathed. The bike was fine too, save for a few remnants of roadside vegetation poking out from fenders and wheels. So, all’s well that ends well, I guess, but next time I think I will stick to  my guns in opting out of riding a motorbike in SE Asia.



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