Err…. Is that a rhetorical question?
Last week i’d just finished work and pulled in to a place called Tippanet Market. It’s not really a market as such, but there are lots of restaurants there and there is a massive outdoor shop where you can buy bits and bobs. Just as i went to park my bicycle by one of the shops i saw a motorbike fly around the corner of a small estate that usually consists of Burmese immigrants and hill tribe people. I thought to myself, “Wow, she’s going fast!” Just as i finished thinking that she was no less than 10 metres away from me and she looked like she was going to go straight through me. I leant towards the bike and braced for impact. I’m not exaggerating when i say she was going about 40 miles an hour, although she did brake before she hit me so it is possible that she hit me at 35. There was no way that she hit me at 30 or under!
Go on then, what did you break?
Nothing. I can’t tell you why or how, but i know my bike went flying further than i did and i can only assume that because i leant in, my bike took the brunt of the impact and from that the bike flew a lot further than i did, it saved me from much worse injuries. The girl and her motorbike ended up going further than me and i surprised to see her on the other side of me when we both ended up in a crumpled up heap on the floor.
Where do Thai people come into this? You’ve only talked about yourself!
Well, around 15 people came out to see if i was OK. My first reaction was, “I’m fine, is she OK?” I was also in a small state of shock, so i was trying to process what was going on whilst all the commotion was happening. Once my initial shock subsided my wrist started to ache, and i mean really hurt. My bike, although it looked unscathed on the surface, didn’t work at all. The seat was facing the wrong way and the wheels wouldn’t turn. I thought “Fuck! This is going to cost me a bomb!” Then all the males jumped in and fixed my bike for me. Well, as well as the average person can do.
Did it cost you a lot of money?
That’s the thing; i wasn’t sure what to do. I knew exactly what to do in England, but every country does things differently and everyone seemed to be looking at me to see what move i was going to make next. The girl kept saying that she needed to go to work but i didn’t want to let her go in case my wrist was broken and i never saw her again. I’ve heard all the stories that the foreigner has to pay for all the damages because they are the foreigner so i was reluctant to start asking for money. Instead i rang my friend who speaks much better Thai than me, and hadn’t just been rammed by a motorbike. He told me to do the same as you would back home; get her information and deal with it at a later date.
I went to the hospital the next day and found out it wasn’t broken. I knew it wasn’t because i could move it a little bit, but i wanted to make sure just in case. Then i went to the bike shop to get my bike fixed. The first thing the guy said was “Did you get any money off her?” I didn’t want any money off her. Besides the fact that she is probably quite poor anyway, it wasn’t as if she was pretending she had done nothing wrong. She was remorseful and very apologetic. He asked if she was going to pay for the bike and i didn’t give him a straight answer, simply because i wasn’t sure what to do. So he asked if i wanted him to speak to her since my Thai is abysmal at best. Once he was off the phone he told me that she was on the way, and she kept saying “NO POLICE!” So she probably didn’t have insurance.
She paid for the bike with no fuss. She was very friendly about it too. She was limping because she ripped her toenail off in the crash which i saw and was trying to point out to everyone but they were ignoring it. Maybe it was a loss of face to acknowledge the injury. It’s not my culture so i’m not even going to pretend to know what i’m talking about.
What about work?
Obviously i’m off work until it heals. It’s my right wrist and i’m right handed so it’s pointless to keep putting pressure on it or it’ll never heal! I rang my boss and told her what had happened and she was fine about it. Then her husband rang me back and said “What did you do?” In a comical tone. He also kept stressing that if there was anything they could do all i had to do was ask. It wasn’t like a generic, throwaway comment as if to say “I’m saying this to sound good, but you better not fucking call me!” He genuinely meant it. He said it a couple of times and told me to spoil myself and rest up. Again, what nice people!
So, all sorted?
Yeah, a sprained wrist and a bruised up arm when i could, and probably should, have had a lot worse. I’m incredibly lucky to walk away from that, I know that. But i was even more surprised to see the Thai people go so far out of their way for me to see if i was OK. When you live in a country it’s very easy to only notice only the negatives and bypass the positives. Think about it; how many of you would say how great your own country is? Most people would say “England’s shit because…..” Or “America doesn’t even……” We tend to forget what’s great about our countries and only focus on the bad parts. So yeah, i was concerned that the Thai people would get aggressive and say “YOU PAY!” because i’m the foreigner and they think i have money, but nothing could be further from the truth. They went above and beyond to make sure i was OK and over the days that followed the more i dealt with Thai people through this situation the more it cemented my belief that they are genuinely nice people. Sure, like anywhere in the world you are going to find some tossers every now and then, but the vast majority are just nice caring people.
Here’s a picture of one of the pups resting his head on his sister, before one his brothers kicked him in the face whilst trying to get some milk