Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bad Luck: Part 2

(PICTURE: Jed and Lena at the pharmacy.)

...once we were back on the road, I started to have second thoughts about letting Jed keep driving. I had a familiar feeling in my stomach that was reminiscent of when my buddy PJ crashed twice in Sapa. I kept looking in my side-view mirrors to make sure Jed was okay. He actually looked very comfortable on the bike and seemed to be having no problems.

We continued on the way to Tam Dao using the back roads. It is a very quick trip on the highway but the highway is no place for a first time driver. Plus, the back roads are much prettier and give you a taste of non-city life. At some point there was a fork in the road and Huyen and I began discussing which way to go. As we did this I also glanced into my mirror to make sure Jed was okay. Well, while doing all of that I failed to notice a red light. The cop around the corner though didn't fail to notice me running the light and stepped into the road to pull me over. Jed, following me, blazed through the red light too and much to the cop's delight pulled up right next to me on the curb. Once again, Huyen performed her role as Damage Control coordinator and worked her magic. We got off by paying the cop 150,000 VND or $7.50. The guy who ran the red a minute after us wasn't so lucky as the cops began putting his bike on a tow truck as we were leaving.

Moments after we were back on the road, we came to a four-way intersection. Our way had a red light so Huyen and I pulled up to the corner to ask a man for directions. While the man told us how to go, our light turned green. Following the man's instructions we went straight through the intersection. Well, right after taking off, our light went from green to yellow. I looked into my side view mirror and saw that Jed was stalled-out and trying to switch gears. I figured Jed wouldn't go through the intersection and began to pull over to wait for him. Just then I turned back and saw him blazing through the light just as it was turning red. I have this great visual of him smiling from ear to ear as traffic started to come at him. I turned back to face the road when all of a sudden I heard BAMMMMMMM!...quickly followed by Huyen screaming, "Stop! Stop!"

Before I could even put the kick-stand down, Huyen was sprinting towards Jed and Lena who were laying under the bike on the road. A few street-side vendors started making their way to them as Lena got out from under the bike and lifted it off of Jed (You know those stories of people getting adrenaline and lifting cars? Well, Lena did it with a motorbike). Jed and Lena were both shaken up and clearly in a little state of shock. Huyen walked them over to our bike while I collected the other bike from the ground. When I joined the three of them, I got my first sight of their wounds. Jed had a significant scrape on his elbow while Lena had a cut-up palm and a scraped knee. Understandably both of them were very worried about infection and we did our best to assure them they would be alright. I told them we'd go immediately to a pharmacy and get them cleaned up. After driving for five minutes, we found a local pharmacy. I asked the shop owner if Jed and Lena could wash off in their house and he showed them to his bathroom.

Once Jed and Lena washed their wounds, the pharmacist cleaned their cuts with alcohol and some creams. He then wrapped their scrapes with gauze and tape. This marked the end of Jed's driving experience...but not the end of our bad luck...