Before you read this, there is actually nothing about Hoi An in this post, but it is just the events that happened on our journey there. I apologize if anything from this post upsets any of the readers, but everything is true. Please read the next post if you wish to hear about Hoi An itself.
Adam, Enzo and I were enthused to attempt to ride all of the way to Hoi An, with the possibility of needing to camp half way, but no one could have predicted what was about to happen within 15 minutes of our ride…
We were situated on the mountain roads and so we needed to ride down until we could reach the town and get on the road that would take us to Hoi An. As we approached a corner we saw a group of people standing on the side of the road with a police man waving us on through. As we slowly rolled through on our motorcycles we started seeing clues of an accident that had just taken place. At first there was a motorbike that was demolished laying on its side, then a helmet, then I saw streaks of blood, a bloody organ, and as my heart began to race… I saw the back end of a 16-wheeler truck with a Vietnamese man who had been swept under the back wheel and dragged. I was frozen in confusion, fear, disgust, and sorrow as we slowly passed by this man whose life was taken from him in an instant. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life. What I have seen in movies, this cannot compare even in the slightest bit, the feeling I had and still have as I write this is haunting.
As we left the scene we continued at the same speed, I didn’t even hear the engine at this point; it was complete silence. I looked back with a ghostly face to see if Adam was OK and he looked back with the same look. I felt a tear come down my face, but I wasn’t crying, I was still in shock. We started to pass by this group of people on motorbikes beeping by to let them know we were still passing them, all of a sudden– crash! My heart stopped and so did my world, I snapped my head around expecting to see the exact thing I just saw a minute ago knowing this time Adam was behind us…
Adam’s front tire was done with as the bike flipped and skidded onto its side. Adam was getting up off the ground and I saw that a woman drove her motorbike right in front of him causing him to knock her off of the bike and sent him over his handle bars. We quickly pulled our bike to the side and before we knew it several other Vietnamese people had gathered and made sure everyone was still conscious. They wouldn’t let us move anything out of the road until the cops came and took a rock to outline the bikes onto the tar road (keeping track of where the bikes were at the scene).
At this point all of the feelings I had from seeing the man under the wheel came out and I started to cry until I couldn’t breathe. Adam was in need of medical attention and so I took a taxi to the nearest hospital with him while staring out of the back window to make sure Enzo was OK driving our motorcycle behind the taxi. All the while I still had tears streaming down my face. The taxi driver ripped me off, but I was in no state of mind to try to bargain with a taxi driver who didn’t speak English.
Enzo went into the emergency room with Adam while I waited in the entry way with all of our baggage spread onto the floor. As I tried to gather myself together I kept seeing people getting taken out of cars to be put on a stretcher to be rushed into the ER. I found it terribly difficult to hold back my feelings and it was even worse with everyone staring at me for being a foreigner and for relentlessly crying by myself in this foreign hospital in Quy Nhon, Vietnam.
Several X-rays later and after Enzo was told to go to the pharmacy to grab the supplies needed to temporarily help Adam’s dislocated shoulder and factured wrist, Adam came walking out with some medical tape, a sling, and a soft cast. He told us how the doctor wasn’t doing anything and at first even told him he just needed to rest for about 2 hours and he’d be fine. He showed us his shoulder and said the doctor just put tape on it, but when he wasn’t holding his shoulder with his other hand, it would start sinking again. This was all of the medical attention he could get.
We were then sent to the police station to deal with the fact that it was a two person collision. The officers were extremely helpful and friendly. Luckily, we were not fined for not having a Vietnamese drivers license and the woman who ran into him was in the hospital as well, but she was fine and signed a paper saying she would not sue and asked Adam to sign one as well.
After the legalities were settled, Adam was told he needed to go back to the states for proper medical attention, but that would mean a 30 hour flight back home with a dislocated shoulder and broken bones… and he would be missing the rest of the trip. Instead, he booked a flight to Hanoi’s international hospital that was well known for having American doctors.
That was the last time we saw Adam. After getting checked in Hanoi, he decided to fly back to the states because they could not provide an accurate and safe procedure for him and as he knew it he would need time to heal so backpacking would become difficult.
Enzo and I were exhausted, physically and emotionally. From then on we decided we were going to sell our bikes and finish our trip with buses, planes and trains. However, the day was already half gone and so we needed to find another place to stay for one more night so we could come up with a new plan and try to sell Adam’s bike. We were taken to the area that was holding Adam’s bike for investigation and after a while we were brought the bike. We had to sell it for little money because we were desperate to get it off of our hands.
After a long day of witnessing two accidents, going to the hospital, police station, investigation department, and losing our travel buddy, we finally got to a hotel nearby and called our families to tell them what happened and then slept.
The next day we booked an early bus ride to Hoi An, where we had planned to ride our motorcycles before the whole mess happened. Unfortunately, we didn’t sell our bikes yet so we had to pay an extra fee to have it stored underneath the bus for the long ride.
The journey was not bad at all, but we had no gas to get to our hotel because they had to empty ours out to store it underneath the bus and not damage it. We ended up paying a man afterwards to take some of his gas out of his bike and put enough into ours to make it to our hotel.
We couldn’t have picked a better place to stay after all that had happened the day before. Aquarium Villa provided us with an upgraded private room, private bath, breakfast and the most kind and trustworthy woman who works at the hotel. She was a breath of fresh air for us, which I will explain more about in my next post.
After reading this, please don’t forget to be thankful for everything and everyone you have in your life. I know those events certainly reminded me of everything I’m thankful for.
~ M + H