Thursday, December 12, 2013

Biking Chiang Mai

photo by asha
Minutes before the accident

I don't feel like writing about it but it's what I do here, note the passing days. We had a minor motorbike accident today. No big deal, unless my hand ends up getting infected but it probably won't. I always worry about things like that. I was on the back. We were needling through Chiang Mai traffic and, in order to avoid rear-ending a truck, M. Lee laid it down. My left hand ended up at the bottom of the pile, palm up, scrapped and bleeding and he banged up both knees and his chin. And my phone got smashed. I had it open to Google maps at the time as I was being the navigator. I will say this, I held it all the way down but the gorilla glass shattered anyway.

photo by asha
Biking in Chiang Mai

Thai people learn to drive a motorbike before they can walk. It's second nature. It gets so you expect to see moms on motorbikes nursing one baby and holding another or whole families sharing a bike, including the dog. And all the vehicles on the road, whether motorcycles, cars, bikes, hand-drawn carts, trucks, tuk tuks or taxis flow together and around each other like corpuscles in an artery. It's mindless and intuitive. Pure zen. And there are people in the mix. Pedestrians thread their way across traffic like fish navigating a stream. And it's nothing to see someone sweeping the street in the middle of traffic while vehicles flow by like a river around a sandbar. No one is perturbed. No one honks. And about a dozen people die a day in motorbike accidents, although the number is under-reported, or so my friends tell me.

photo by asha
Chiang Mai graffiti

Our confidence is a bit shaken. We were following a friend who has lived in Thailand for years and is experienced with this kind of thing. He zipped through an opening which closed just as we made the move. It could have been worse so okay. And that's life. People on the street were very helpful. A fellow took me into his shop and helped my clean up my hand. And our friend bought a round of ice cream bars, because ice cream always makes things better. So we stood and ate them on the sidewalk before heading home where M. Lee watched a couple of episodes of Walking Dead and I curled into a ball and slept.

5 comments:

Roy said...

Glad you are well.

asha said...

Thanks. :)

Kimberlee said...

I think ice cream does fix everything. Glad no one got too damaged??? You are a brave soul to motorbike around those crazy roads the first time I drove from the airport into Kathmandu I thought "well this is it, it was a good life. I just hope they don't cremate me and put me in that terribly dirty river." And I was in a taxi.

Kimberlee said...

Oh also I think that graffiti is very cool :)

asha said...

Mmmm...ice cream. :) Makes it all better. But taxis? Yes. Horrifying! And minivans? Say your prayers. The driver did a five hour drive in three. Nice graffiti, isn't it? They say Chiang Mai has an interesting art underground. We weren't there long enough to find out for ourselves but there was a lot of interesting graffiti around town. Chiang Mai is definitely a place worth visiting and staying awhile.