|Lindsay taming the beast|
My moped adventuring on Koh Phangan was short lived. Within hours of renting the scooter I had wrecked it, myself, and Lindsay. I wasn’t doing anything daring or crazy, just hauling a big load with little experience.
I talked to a few rental agencies before settling on a trusty steed that came at a bargain price of 100 baht a day (about $3). This scooter had a 125cc motor, which is pretty normal in Thailand, but is massive relative to the typical 49cc’er in the States. So while it has the same neutered motorcycle form, it packs a lot more punch. Also it had a manual transmission with 4 gears operated by a set of foot pedals. With these upgrades, hurting myself was pretty easy, really.
I drove one of these back in Kampot, Cambodia, but I still wasn’t too confident (Lindsay was so far too afraid to even try driving). The heavy load didn’t help. We were already toting all of our belongings since we’d only just arrived on the ferry, but Jack, Lindsay and I rolled over to the outdoor street market and added on a fair amount of fruit and veggies. Definitely worthwhile cargo, though. We bought some terrific mangoes!
Alright, now for the action. Jack is a fast scooter pilot and Koh Phangan’s roads while paved, are windy, sandy, and hilly. I lagged behind him a ways and we came to a compromised speed, but I was definitely a little nervy. Lindsay and I did wear helmets, but mine was too small and sat mostly atop my freakishly large cranium, while Lindsay’s was too large for her more proportional head. So the helmets didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. All that seemed fine since Jack slowed down for us and there was almost no traffic.
Together we rode for 20 minutes and to within 100 meters of our destination before disaster (incompetency?) struck. Well, it was mild really, but it sure was exciting. The hill just before Jack’s little piece of paradise was astonishingly steep. Since it was there I wrecked, I will even call it improperly steep (let’s blame the road engineer). Our scooter was nearly coming to a stop trying to climb the hill in second gear, so I downshifted. Well, I should’ve done that before the hill. Instead, the front wheel came way up off the ground, Lindsay tumbled off the back, and I rode the horse down. I didn’t get trapped under it or anything, but I think I was in the rodeo until it was nearly lying on it’s side.
Lindsay’s backpack saved her from a nastier fall, but she did bruise her poor tailbone. I scraped my knee pretty good, and my foot, too. After the wreck I was actually excited from the adrenaline and the narrow escape from real injury. After all, I had scrapes like these as a kid. In fact, I felt like a kid and enjoyed the bright blood running down my shin.
Well, we made it to the top of the hill and damn was Jack’s place worth the trouble! Thanks to him we were able to stay in a beachfront villa with an incredible view. The water was light blue, the sand white, and it was noticeably quiet after Chanthaburi. Really, it was a wonderful place to nurse a hurt knee. I figured I’d be snorkeling after a short rest. Only, after a day things got worse for me.
|Look away if you plan on eating today|
My scrapes became infected. I tried some stuff around the house, and even borrowed some herbs hoping to clean things up. In order, I applied onions, garlic, some leaves the Thai neighbor suggested, ginger, and salt water, and aloe vera. I’m not sure what effect those had other than to delay me from using something more effective. The infection grew worse until I really could barely walk on my swollen foot. It was red and the wounds were green. Gross and painful.
|Jack and Lindsay managed the beach without me|
Everything is better now. I am nearly all healed up. When things became unbearable for me Lindsay asked at a nearby pharmacy for advise. Turns out moped accidents are so common that another fellow in the store was there to acquire aid for his friend who’d also wrecked a bike. The pharmacist put me on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory. I am so grateful for these modern miracle drugs. My condition improved rapidly on the medication.
My infection was nasty and it could’ve gotten worse, but now I am running again, and soon I’ll be swimming with Lindsay. Maybe not on Koh Phangan, but I’m pretty sure we’ll find ourselves on another beautiful beach before long