Back to Bangkok
11th of October 2011
It was a miserable rainy day on the Island and it was already time to leave. We had our tickets for Bangkok, as we were flying out from there only a few days later and wanted to get there with time to spare. Little did we know, it was a good thing we did.
We piled into the little motor boat once again; still not convinced the boat would hold us all and our bags. One rather long bus ride later, we were dropped off at the central bus station of Bangkok. We shared a taxi with some other travellers to Khao San Road and starting looking for a hotel. We looked at several rather classy places with prices ranging between $15-$25 a night for luxurious rooms and decided we would treat ourselves to one or two nights there just before leaving (as it wasn’t going to be in Australia that we could afford such a place). In the meantime we found a descent room on Rambuttri Street for $10 a night.
12th – 18th of October 2011
We had until the 18th of October in Bangkok to enjoy all its wonders, so after a good breakfast we wondered around Khao San Road and then took some time to choose several things we wanted to do whilst there. One of them was the biggest weekend market of Thailand, we also wanted to go to the water markets, the palace, try out the night life…etc. Our first two or three days there however, resulted in us relaxing, as up until then we had pretty much been travelling every five days or so. One evening we walked halfway to MBK and then grabbed a scooter ride the rest of the way, to see “the smurfs” in cinema. On the way back we decided to pay a little bit more and try out one of the amazing speedy discotheque tuk-tuks. We zipped in and out of traffic and were back at the hotel in less than 20minutes. It was ridiculous and fun!
Then came the weekend market, where we had planned to make the most of it and buy presents and souvenirs for everyone and treat ourselves a bit too. We decided to go by tuk-tuk again, as even though it was slightly more expensive than a taxi, it was also a bit of fun. Also it was our last week in Asia. If we had known what was to come however we would never have got in.
About ten minutes after leaving the hotel we were coming up to one of the biggest intersections of Bangkok, when all of a sudden Nico and I spotted a car about to turn straight into us to turn left whilst we were going straight on. Nico jumped up to try and hold me, as it was coming for my side…then the car hit us!...With the impact Nico was thrown from the tuk-tuk, onto the road, whilst I was hanging over the edge trying to catch him before being flung out too. Then there were the few seconds which felt like hours, where Nico and I lay on our backs on the middle of the road, trying to grasp what had happened. We were both so scared to look up and see the other one dead or extremely badly hurt. All the while we were screaming at ourselves to stand up, before a car might run us over. What seemed like ages later, but more likely only a couple of seconds, we were standing up, Nico’s arm looked funny and he had lost both his flip-flops, glass was everywhere. We looked around for the tuk-tuk driving, to find him sprawled on the road just across from us. By then people had begun to stop, peering at the strange sight to see what had happened. No one made a move to try and help the poor driver up. Instinct made Nico hobble over to him to help him up. His trousers and top were torn at the knees, elbows and ankles; we could see blood, trickling from the holes.
Nico and I then looked at each other and asked how the other was doing, as we slowly made our way over to the pavement, where a police officer and a crowd now stood. Nico’s arm was badly burnt and bloody and it looked like a bone had been broken. My leg was getting bigger by the second and my neck suddenly began to scream at me. People kept on asking us what had happened and we got a quick clean up from an ambulance that had appeared, before being driving off to hospital. At the hospital we were taken directly to the emergency area and within five minutes we were being examined. Nico had is armed cleaned up, as much as possible, but it was badly burned, so would take some time to heal. We both had scans to see if anything was broken, I was even taken to have a head and brain scan, as I had badly bumped my head. When I came back from the scan Nico was lying on his stomach whilst one of the doctors, appeared to be operating on his foot; At first without any anaesthetic at all and then continually needling some into his foot, as he was in pain. He had managed to get a lot of glass stuck deep into his foot, as he had run to help the tuk-tuk driver. The tuk-tuk driver was there too being looked after, but disappeared once he was all cleaned up.
Two hours or so later, we were told we could leave. They made appointments for us to come back the following day, as Nico’s arm and the 9 stitches in his foot, needed much attending to. They also wanted me to see someone about my neck. We were in shock, but completely overjoyed that neither of us, had anything broken or even better we were still alive. From the hospital we were driven to the police station, where we were told we would meet the people who had crashed into us. We needed to file a report, but other than that we were not too sure about what was going to happen. We had spent a ridiculous amount of money at the hospital for all the scans, stitches and cleaning up, let alone all the other appointments we still needed to attend at the hospital. Also it was not our tuk-tuk driver’s fault at all. The other car had simply driven straight into the side of us.
At the police station we were met by a distraught looking mother, a father and their youngish lady-boy, son/daughter. It had apparently been the lady-boy driving. We were helped into the office, as neither of us could really walk and then asked to explain what had happened. It was difficult to tell how much any of the officers understood and we were soon communicating thanks to a guy over the phone who spoke English and Thai, who would listen to what I had to say before the phone was passed back to one of the officers’ who was then given the translation. This went on for quite some time and all the while the policemen were writing up a report. We were then asked to sign the report, but as it was all written in Thai, we had no idea what they had written and refused. The last thing we wanted was to claim it was our fault, without realising it. I told this to the guy on the phone and he was very understanding. He said not to worry and that we could sign it another day, with someone we trusted who could translate it for us (our hearts sank at this point, as we knew no-one in Bangkok, nor anyone who could speak Thai). The guy on the phone then explained that we were actually allowed compensation, this meant that the family for one were willing and obliged to reimburse us all hospital fees and on top of it, we could claim a sum of money of our choice for making up for the fact that our time in Bangkok was well ruined you could say, as neither of us were in good enough shape to see any of Bangkok, let alone walk. Now this surprised us, they could have made up any kind of story and we would have had to believe it. We had no idea how the Thai insurances worked, nor understood a word anyone was saying, other than what the unknown man on the phone had to say, and even then he could have been told to say whatever the policemen or the family asked him to say. All the while the mother repeatedly said she was sorry and put her hand on my knee (sadly the swollen one, as this put me in more pain than anything else), whilst the lady-boy appeared to have not a care in the world that she/he had just thrown three people out of the tuk-tuk and onto the road. Finally after a quick chat amongst the two of us, we decided to ask double amount in compensation, as the cost of the hospital bills (these turned out to be roughly 500euros in total). I told this to the guy on the phone and he explained that he would then pass the message on to the family and either they could accept that amount, in which case we would be paid that exact amount, by the Monday or if they refused it would have to be taken to court. The other solution would be cooperating and working out a price that worked for the family and us. As it turned out they refused the 1000euros, but asked what we thought of 500euros. We said that didn’t work, as the entire end of our trip in Asia, had just been demolished, so they offered 700euros. And we accepted. It was Saturday when all this happened, so we had to wait until Monday to receive the payment and finish off all the paperwork. The family and the police were all very friendly and tried to make it a bit less painful and more a silly situation. We were offered a ride back to our hotel in nothing less than a tuk-tuk, can you believe, which obviously brought up several jokes. So off we went back to our hotel bandaged up from head to foot. We arrived just in time to watch a rugby match and give our families a quick call.
Over the next few days we therefore didn’t get around to doing very much. Everything was a chore; even just having a shower was complicated. There was also much talk of Bangkok flooding and walls of sand bags had been made up all along the streets outside of shops and restaurants. It consequently wasn’t a surprise when it rained hard for several days, leaving the streets flooded, so when eating in one of the restaurants, only half of the chair legs could be seen. When Monday came, we took a taxi to the police station (which they very kindly paid for). We had tried to find a translator to bring along in order to understand the report and to make the last processes easier. However none were available, we therefore turned up, with our fingers crossed, hoping it would all be ok. At first we ended up waiting a good hour for the family to turn up and by that point we were wondering whether they would come at all. But they came and it was then that we found out they were actually military. The father and mother were both dressed in the uniform. The father had many medals. They quickly came in, apologised for being late and asked how we were doing. It was obvious they felt very bad about what had happened and hated seeing us in pain. The lady-boy even ran across the street and bought us all juices. Everything actually went quite smoothly and quickly from there. They handed us a big wad of cash, covering the hospital fees and compensation. Then after they did their best to explain to us what was written on the report, we signed it.
They then made it clear that they would pay for any transport we might need for the rest of our time in Bangkok and they would drive us personally to the airport. We thanked them immensely for being so great about the whole thing. They then drove us to the hospital for our last check-up (we had had to go back every day since the accident to clean Nico’s arm and check his foot). I was shown how I could take care of Nico’s bandages from there on and then we were driven back to our hotel.
They asked us what time we need picking up the following day for the airport, apologised again and waved good-bye.
That night we did our best to dress up and look nice even with all our bandages and hobbling and went out to treat ourselves to a lovely evening at the restaurant “Sawasdee”. The atmosphere was perfect, candles, friendly staff and good food. We ordered cocktails, wine, fresh fish, prawns, everything that took our fancy; it was our last night in Asia.
That night after the restaurant, we didn’t really sleep. We spent hours backing our bags and talking about everything that had happened in the past six months of our trip. And we still had six more to go.
18thof October 2011
The family came to pick us up early and we had only just sat down for breakfast. We quickly ate what we could (oh and we obviously were still in the same hotel for, as much as we had been dreaming of spending one or two nights in a luxury hotel, moving our bags, considering we could hardly walk, had had to have been forgotten) and drove off in their minivan. We had one or two things to do before going to the airport, so they kindly took us to the hospital where we picked up all the painkillers, bandages and more that we would need for the next month or so until we healed. We were also given a letter written by our doctor, claiming we had been in an accident, so explaining why we had all the medication and my neck-brace and asking whether we could be upgraded on the plane, in order to have more leg room…etc. so as not to be in too much pain. Then they took us to the post-office as we had several things to send back to France, which we didn’t want to lug around with us for the rest for the trip and finally to an internet café to print off our tickets. At last we were ready to go and they drove us to the airport. Everyone was very helpful with our bags and they continuously said they were sorry and wished us the best for the rest of our travels. We waved good-bye, so grateful to have landed on such a nice family during such an awful experience.
I might add that on checking in, the lady at the desk promoted us to world travellers’ class for our flight to Australia. We could not have asked for more.