Getting off the overnight train from Saigon, Nate and I were both looking forward to Nha Trang, known for their beaches and resorts. What story would it be without a motorbike story in Vietnam?
Checked into the next hostel. What I experienced at most hostels in Vietnam was an overwhelming amount of positive hospitality that they had for their guests. So many of the staff was really caring and genuinely wanted to talk to you. It was just something difficult to find in this world because to think that they did this day in and day out, it would be impossible to fake. People that actually enjoyed their job and meeting people, it was rare. This hostel, Mozjo Inn was one of those.
Nha Trang Beach…. so hot. Sand was average, scenery was average. What was recommended was to go further out on a boat to the surrounding islands where you can snorkel, dive and visit the nicer beaches. That was what we planned to do next.
This paid resort type beach was absolutely gorgeous with nice sand and various activities to do on the side.
A pool at a beach resort. Took several tries but at least we got the pic with our eyes open. When I said we, I meant me only. HAH.
Snake wine. Of course! The bigger bottles have a scorpion in it as well. We picked up a few small ones as souvenirs.
Tasted like alcohol without much taste, but had a slightly stronger burn. Hey, at least I can say that I had this one time in Vietnam.
Popular hangout, the Red Apple Bar near the hostel on one of the main streets. Overcrowded with foreigners! Who said Vietnam wasn’t touristy? From what we saw, it was one of the more touristy places we’ve been to!
At least the alcohol was dirt cheap. A bucket where at least half of it was liquor costs $3 CAD. G.
Bumped into Brayden, a friend which I met in KL and I mentioned him in my KL post. One of the best things during travelling was to see a familiar face. Good to see him again and wish him, Cass and Matt safe travels.
Dirk a friendly German guy from the hostel. It was nice getting to know him and hope to bump into him again in the next few months. Safe travels man.
Next day, we rented motorbikes. $6 USD/day.
Speedometer was busted. Read 0 km/h forever. Honestly, this had NOTHING to do with the accident…. I swear. =)
Panorama getting out of Nha Trang city. One of the best decisions we made was this. The city itself didn’t have much to see and do buy getting out on your own by renting a motorbike was the way to do it and it was totally worth it. The area around Nha Trang was very very beautiful. We passed through several fishing villages, regular villages and scenic viewing areas of the hillside. No regrets.
So the story of how the accident happened was that Nate and I were quite far from Nha Trang as we had been touring area near the ocean side for 2-3 hours on motorbike. It only took about 15 minutes to get used to driving and it was pretty straight forward from there. Shifting weight on turns, etc. As I said, my speedometer was busted to I never really know how fast we were going but Nate said we averaged 60-80 km/h, with 80 km/h being quite fast on one of these. We neared the edge of where we would turn around and head back the direction we came, but decided to go to the end of the road (maybe 10 more mins further). Funny, getting into any kind of accident never occurred to me in the slightest, as I knew I wouldn’t do dumb shit. As much as I like doing crazy things, I usually travel with a level head and would never do anything stupid. This was, from the start, purely an accident.
As we passed through a small village (one of many on the way there), Nate pulled up ahead of me a little and disappeared around the corner. I was a little bit behind due to traffic and wanted to catch up. As I approached the corner, I braked to turn but unfortunately there was sand on the road and the bike started to skid and slide. At this point, I was sure I wasn’t going fast at all and as I fell, everything seemed to be in slow motion. For those who can recall any kind of accident, at the moment of “you’re screwed,” time always seem to pass in slow motion. I believe at a crucial moment of an accident, all of your senses are heightened and the brain just focuses in on that very moment. Though in reality, there was nothing I could do. As slow as time passes, the body just did not react as you think it would. That was what I felt during my fall. The bike fell on my right foot and I got pretty bad road rash on it as it took a chunk of meat and skin from me. I also got some road rash on my leg, toes, knees, elbow, hands, and chest with some bruising on my hip. Right after I fell, I got straight up and went into a curse-o-thon. Though it never really stopped in my head.
I got to the side of the road and immediately a swarm of locals came over to help me and assess the situation. However, they were all rambling in Vietnamese and mostly because I didn’t understand them, in the moment, it was quite intimidating. Luckily, Nate had waited up for me and saw me fall so at the very least I was not alone. We both agreed it was too bad that he didn’t catch the accident on video. LOL. Shortly, one of the Vietnamese guys had pointed in a direction, of which we figured that he wanted to help and bring us to a nearby clinic. I hopped on the back of the motorbike AGAIN, bleeding… and he took me and Nate (on the other motorbike) to a clinic. The guy in the clinic came out, looked at my wound, shook his head and left. Apparently he was like, eff that, I’m not dealing with that. SO NICE. Next, the Vietnamese guy brought us to a real hospital where they took me in and I was treated in a sketchy emergency room on a sketchy table with really sketchy tools. As I used to work in the healthcare industry and was familiar with a lot of surgical equipment, a lot of it looked REALLY dirty and old and corroded. Although they disinfected everything, this wasn’t really too assuring. BUT, it was a hospital and there wasn’t really any case where I could refuse anything and they would know better than me. They cleaned, stitched, and wrapped me up. This was something I will never forget. After, I hopped on the bike with Nate and he drove me back about 1.5 hour back to Nha Trang. Aiy.
In retrospect, the fall could have been a lot worse where I could have: broken something, went faster and got worse rash, hit someone else, and the list goes on. I still don’t regret renting the motorbike and can’t wait to do it again. As it was really an accident, it was also seriously really fun at the same time and I couldn’t see myself not renting one again if I got the chance to. Of course, I would always avoid the highly congested areas of major cities and probably ride in shoes over flip-flops. LOL. Glad no one got hurt, but it sucked for me for the rest of the trip. Updates on the healing process with go with my posts.
Looking back, the Vietnamese man that sent me to the hospital was really nice and despite the language barrier, did everything in his power to help us. Nate and I discussed and agreed on the experiences with some people in foreign countries with limited exposure of different cultures or languages was that they lacked the ability and more so, had a difficult time communicating beyond their native language. This was something that varied from person to person but seen quite often. When I reflect on this afterward, I conclude it is just how some parts of the world is no matter where you are.
If you are not comfortable with seeing blood / wounds as I know some of you are, skip the rest of this post!
This was AFTER being stitched up. There was a quarter sized hole at the top of the ankle area, where the foot bends. What a bitch of an place to get a wound. 4 stitches.
Me giving the thumbs up for being OK at the hospital. Couldn’t close my fists though, palms were slightly shredded.
Learned to experience and HATE Iodine. This is used to kill bacteria, disinfect and clean wound and still use it this day I type this post. It effing kills. I repeat, I HATE Iodine with a passion.
Prescribed 8 pills a day for 7 days. The nurse didn’t have a high enough level of English to explain what each one did. So for a week, I had no idea what I took. I only assumed for the best.
I heavily considered cutting the trip short and just chilling in Nha Trang or going back to Saigon to rest for the remainder of the trip. Another option was to go back to Bangkok and rest there. Lastly, I decided to push on and see day by day how my foot feels. They never gave me any crutches or advised me not to walk, so I figured I could tough it out. Although this decision probably wasn’t the smartest one, I still wouldn’t have done it any other way. So in the end, no regrets, bought another Banh Mi, and took an awesome night bus to Hoi An.
Vietnam night buses were officially the best. 2 level, 3 rowed sleeper night bus. These seats nearly recline to flat. The only downside was the limited legroom which, after having a motorbike accident on the same day, didn’t help much.
Vietnam continues as we push north to Hoi An.