The One With The Motorbike Accident
It was a simple left hand turn.
Brigette (a friend we met at orientation who also works at our school) and I decided to rent motorbikes to go see the grand canyon in Chiang Mai. Each driver had to leave their passport at the rental company to ensure that the bike gets returned, Brigette didn't have hers so they said we could just take one and ride together. Keep in mind I have never driven a motorbike before but we felt like we could handle it, evidently we were wrong.
We were going left on red (the equivalent of right on red but in a country where they drive on the left), a completely legal move. It happened so fast. We were trying to make the turn but we both weren't leaning into the curve so instead of making a sharp left, we made a slight left into a car that came up beside us while we were making the turn. We hit the car and then we hit the ground, hard. Our skin is probably still somewhere on the 108 in Chiang Mai to be honest.
We both were wearing helmets and I genuinely think if we weren't that things would have been much worse, if not fatal. I bounced my head off the ground but the helmet took all of the blow and aside from some whiplash today I have no head injuries. We stood up, took stock of ourselves and then noticed some really nice guys running over to help us pick up the bike and move it to the side. We each have some bumps bruises and gnarly road rash but all in all we got really lucky that nothing worse happened to us.
The important part of the story I want to mention is the way we were treated following the accident. In America if we had hit another car, a very nice one I may add, we would probably have had the cops called on us and some hefty fines on our hands. In Thailand we were taken to the restaurant in front of where the accident happened, given waters, and had our wounds cleaned- all by the people whose car we hit. When I offered her all the Baht (Thai currency) that I had, they refused. She ended up taking 20 baht just to placate me but 20 baht is less than 1 USD. While I was begging them to take some money to pay for the damages she was using google translate to communicate with me, when I said why won't you take money she typed something into google translate. When she turned the phone to me all that it said was "kindness." I wept onto the woman's shoulder and hugged them all, she then pointed at herself and said "Thai friend." The restaurant owners then communicated with the bike rental company and asked them to come pick us/the bike up. They came immediately, brought us back and cleaned all our wounds and bandaged us up without any question.
It may go down in history as our worst day in Thailand, but it may also go down as the day filled with the most compassion. With this week being Thanksgiving, I am very aware of all the things I have to be thankful for.