Thailand: Motorbike Scrapes and Bruises

This morning we have planned to go out to the Emerald Cave, where you can swim to a lagoon through a dark cave. It sounds so cool and I can’t wait to go so we eat a quick breakfast and get on our motorbikes. Ilona and Carrie stay behind but plan to go out later in the day to possibly meet us at the cave.

AJ doesn’t feel comfortable driving so she hops on the back with one of the boys and I drive the motorbike alone. How hard can it be? It’s my first time really driving one, so I take it easy, but most of the group is already gone so I try to learn fast. It’s an automatic bike so it’s not so difficult, just gas and brakes really. I make a couple turns and all is well so we set off on our way to the cave. Some of the other girls waited for me so I follow them down the road, where there are some windy curves. We can’t find the rest of the group anywhere so we wonder if maybe the cave is the opposite direction and turn around to look down the other side of the street.

I don’t know exactly how this happens, but as I am following the road around another curve, I lose control of the bike. I don’t bank my body with the turn, so the bike doesn’t turn as much as I want it too, which freaks me out because now I’m headed for the ditch. I freak out and bail off the bike on the side of the road where I fall on my side.

The girls are ahead of me so they don’t know what’s happened, but 4 different locals all come rushing over to make sure that I’m okay. Mostly just my dignity is lost, and I feel extremely embarrassed but the scrapes don’t hurt much. I get up and walk my bike over to the side of the road and wait for the girls to realize that I am not following behind. It only takes a minute before I see them down the road driving towards me. By the time they get to me and pull the bike over the pain has actually begun to set in. My hands and legs are shaking out of shock, and the whole right side of my body is stinging.

I am the luckiest bike wounded girl ever, because 20 steps away from me there is a pharmacy. Honestly what are the odds of that? I walk in and buy some antiseptic and Band-aids to clean the scrapes myself, but as I’m walking out of the pharmacy I notice a nurses’ clinic directly across the street. I decide it’s better to have these cleaned professionally considering I can barely handle having a hangnail let alone cleaning out my own cuts, and I want to make sure it’s done right. The ladies at the clinic are very kind and friendly, they help me clean the scrapes on my ankle, knees, hip, hand, elbow, and shoulder while the girls wait for me out in the waiting room.

I feel awful that they haven’t been able to make it to the cave yet, and I encourage them to go but they stay until I’m done. Sarah drives me back on her motorcycle, which truthfully I am afraid to get back on, but Sarah is the best and most experienced driver of all of us, so I try to calm down and just trust her. Our bungalows aren’t far from where I fell fortunately, so it’s just a short ride.

They all continue onto the Emerald Cave while I lie in bed drinking water and reading a book. I am so jealous that they get to go on such a cool adventure, but know that I couldn’t possibly swim under this condition. Ilona and Carrie still haven’t left yet by the time I am back in my room so they come over to visit and find out what happened. They tell me that they have just rented motorbikes and are going out to drive around the island for the day. Hopefully tomorrow I will be well healed and able to do something fun, too.

I’m just thankful that it wasn’t much worse. So many tourists and locals alike drive around the islands on motorbikes in flip flops, shorts and tank tops which is really dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. I was lucky that there were no other cars on the road for my accident, and that I wasn’t driving up the side of a cliff or something. I guess that protection bracelet I was given in India is legit!

I lie in bed all day, reading a creepy horror/mystery book that a girl we met on the slow boat gave to Ilona. Ilona is still in the middle of reading it, but lends it to me for the day. I read 150 pages in and out of napping. Reading always makes me so sleepy.

The girls who went to the cave return around 5pm and tell me that they weren’t even able to get to the cave because they got lost on the map. So they went shopping instead. Secretly I am sort of happy that they couldn’t make it out to the cave, because I am so upset that I had to miss it, and at least now I’m not the only one. But I’m also sad for them that they couldn’t go. I plan to find something similar in New Zealand, where I’ve heard they have awesome caves to explore. The group from Waterloo made it to the cave, but found out that the entrance fee was 1000 baht ($32), and decided not to go anyway. It seems like no one’s plans to get to the cave unfolded the way they had expected today.

When the girls come back they’re tired, so they hang out with me in the room where we watch some Thai TV, sleep for a little while, and continue reading. We plan to go for dinner later, but luckily nowhere that requires me to get on a motorcycle.

We eat dinner at the guesthouse where they offer a fish barbecue. Like a full fish. With a face. That’s not for me, so I order a small salad and a sweet and sour chicken dish instead. The barbecue is cute though, because the hotel is family run and they catch the fish themselves. 3 of the other girls order the full fish barbecue which is less than impressive. I am extra happy I didn’t order it, because I hadn’t taken into account the possibility of bones, which are definitely a thing, and I am finished my entire meal before any of their dishes arrive. We laugh about the ridiculousness of this meal, but I have yet to have a meal in Thailand where everyone gets what they want.

At one point Cara asks our waitress to open her beer, so she nods, takes it off the table, and never comes back with it. We have to ask numerous staff members many times to find out where the beer has gone. It does finally come back but now we don’t know where it’s been or why. It’s just an all around confusing experience in general.

It’s funny to have this happen sometimes, and tonight especially I think it’s hilarious, but sometimes you just want to get what you’ve ordered and it’s hard to sit down and KNOW that you aren’t going to get it. But I can’t complain because the most I’ve paid for a meal probably tops out at $10, if that. I have trouble at dinner with my scrapes, being unable to rest my elbow on the table in any way. The only comfortable position is for my arm to hang at my side, so I’m really hoping I heal sooner than later. We’ve got tons of adventure plans ahead of us!

After dinner I wait for a friend to Skype me. We were supposed to Skype this morning (morning my time, night her time) but we left for the cave before we had time to make the call. Now I wish I hadn’t cancelled the Skype date because I would have been safe and sound in my bed without any cuts, but the idea of missing such a cool experience got the best of me. Bad friend karma!

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