Vietnam is home to a plethora of creatures-the cockroach living in my bathroom, the terrier-sized rat that scurried in between my feet during lunch and the monkeys who double as road kill. However, none of these creatures is as glorious as the Vietnamese motorist. Capable of maneuvering the terrain of the enigmatic roads, the Vietnamese motorist prefers traveling via Honda, Suzuki, Sym, Yamaha, and, if you’re a fly mother f*****, the Vespa (the Vespa is equivalent to riding a unicorn here).
Anyways, the scooter is a vehicle for everything. Towers of coconuts, buckets of water, piles of fruits, a washing machine, a dryer, a family of five…anything you can imagine. I will do a photo assignment on this later.
However, just like every creature on the prowl, mishaps do occur. And this is mine.
I was just finishing up the day of work-marketing to all these amazing resorts along China Beach (politically correct East Beach). Exhausted from the day I returned to the office and asked my driver to take me back to the hotel.
I get in the front passenger seat and sigh, releasing my breath and forcing my body to relax. As we pull the first right corner away from our office building, I see a blur out of the left corner of my eye. This blur quickly turns into a face……a face that collides with the driver’s side of the car and continues to slide across the hood before landing unconscious in front of the grill. I slowly unbuckle my seat belt, and get out of the car.
A combination of gasoline and blood stream from the injured motorbike and its passenger. His face covered in blood, the injured guy was unconscious. A crowd of Vietnamese swarm the spectacle. Someone removes the bike.
I’m asking questions to myself- is this guy dead? What do I do? Who should I call? I try calling the police (113), the hospital (114), the fire department (115), my employees, anyone. No response. Should I inject him with the adrenaline I always carry with me? Perform CPR? No, he’s breathing, plus I don’t know what pathogens his blood carries. Oh my god, did I really just think that? Finally I resolve to make sure no one attempts to move him and that somebody calls something, a frickin medicine man, just something.
An old lady approaches me. With a toothless black gummy smile reminiscent of a dog’s mouth, she laughs and jabbers at me in the foreign language. I ask my employee who was following via motorbike to translate. Apparently this old crone was telling me I was lucky that my driver was driving slow and that the motorist was apparently drunk.
I never have felt the desire to assault the elderly. But this lady was pushing it. How could someone be so cruel? This was not a valid discussion to have with her at that moment.
Someone loosens the young lad’s belt to allow more blood flow…that’s really going to help a lot people. Where’s the ambulance, it has been a good 25 minutes. This city isn’t that big, not big at all. Someone decides to shove him in the backseat of a taxi and ship him to the hospital. 15 minutes later the ambulance drives by, and keeps on driving.
Than police come. They chalk the car, the area where the blood is. Did my driver, and I, since I was in the car, just kill someone. Am I going to be locked up abroad? I ask to go to the hospital where the guy is being whisked off to. The police and my coworkers shove me in a taxi and tell me to go home. I implore that one of my coworkers makes sure the man is alright.
I go to sleep feeling helpless, as well as disgusted with the world, myself, the old lady, Vietnam, etc. Maybe I should become a doctor, so I can play god-to determine life and death. Regardless of my frustrating thoughts, I eventually fall into a slumber.
The next morning brought a new day, and like my usual self, I brush these things off and carry on with life. I asked to visit the hospital once more, however I am warned against it since foreigners are looked as a source of money in such situations. My coworkers assure me that they have already checked on him and that his unconsciousness was more a result of his intoxication. His only serious damage was the loss of his two front teeth. Good thing I run a dental office.