Dec 7, 2007

Motorcycle Accidents

I love these outlines in the road. Somehow they seem to trace the edges of a life, well maybe a wrecked motorcycle anyway. I took this up at Xiengkok. How a motorcycle could get in an accident on this road I don't know. I mean he'd have to like run into himself, there is no traffic. I've waited on this road for hours to see anything moving at all. There was the outline of the other bike too.

On Thursday evening my nephew got sideswiped by another motorcycle, T-boned to be more exact. Ran right into him from ninety degrees. Of course maybe my nephew jumped out in front of him too but in Laos the one who does the running into is at fault. Broke his leg into pieces above the ankle. The guy driving the other motorcycle was drunk, and also had his own kid on the bike in front of him. That kid fared worse, probably crushed between the driver and the bike. You know how it is, if the kid is little you like to keep him in front of you so he doesn't fall off. I don't know how many miles I've ridden holding my oldest on with my knees while he nods off to sleep.

If you get in an accident don't go here.

They call this an international clinic but it's always been empty when I've gone. I had an infection in my jaw from an abscessed tooth and it took them 3 hours to round up a dentist. Good dentist mind you but he probably had to leave his paying practice just to treat me. Between buying the xray film and trying to find some antibiotics it took quite a while. If I'd of known I would have just gone to one of those dentists across from Dalat Sii Kahm or whatever it's called.

Ooops! another fender bender during rush hour. Everyone in Laos just leaves the bikes where they lay until the police get there and do their investigation thing. Pretty impressive I think. In Thailand when I was there the way seemed to be first you pick yourself up, then apologise, then make sure the other person is able to drive away, then you both skedaddle before the police come and start demanding money.

This is around the other side of Mahasot. Mahosot is down by the river just down from the tourist part of town and it's the only hospital I know of.

My nephew went to the place called Loi hasip Dieng. Something about the fact that it has 150 beds. His room costs 7$ a night, they think the surgery to put the plates in his leg will cost $300. The ambulance to Udon Thani would have cost $200, they can come get you right through customs. The cost there would have started at around $1000. My brother in law has never been across the border and they are more comfortable in Laos anyway. A woman I rented a house from who is a GP said the orthopedic guys are pretty practiced at putting legs together, lots of practice.

The Asian Development Bank estimated that in 05 the cost of traffic accidents cost Laos 4% of GDP. That's just about four times the rate in most of Asia. All of a sudden everyone can afford to buy a bike and get liqueured up too. Deadly combo.

Just remember if you get in an accident of any kind, as a foreigner it's your fault. Best get some of that insurance everyone carries.

Sok Dee

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