Travelling by Pedalling


The accident

We have to temporarily fill in our trip differently.  It only really gets through to us when we visit a temple in Hanoi where groups of tourists go in, shoot a few photos and continue to the next stop.  We always say that we are travelers and not tourists, but now we suddenly feel like a tourist too.

We camped last night along a flowing river with the tent on a sandbank.  That day we would cycle to Ha Giang from where we would cycle part of the famous ‘Ha Giang Loop’.  A tough trip through the mountains but oh so beautiful we hear.

But that morning while preparing breakfast I (Nina) spilled boiling hot water over me.  First a little on my leg.  The fright made me spill more on my leg, my chair sank into the sand so that I fell over and got water on my hand.  Before I got up and could take off my pants it was already too late.  My leg was already deeply burned.  First Q helps to cool the wounds with our drinking water, but then we decide that I have to go into the river.

Q quickly says I have to go to the hospital but I don’t want to believe it.  At first I fight the situation.  I don’t want this to actually happen.  I’m mad at myself for making such a stupid mistake.  I could have easily prevented it by not pouring above a limb.  Because I go into a fight and the pain is intense, I become very emotional.  The thoughts come and go.  In between I calm down and think about what we should do now.  I agree with Q.  I can see the severeness of the wounds that I have to go to the hospital.

When I get out of the water there is a couple who want to help me.  The man asks for drinking water.  When we give him a water bottle, he unscrews it and a shamanic ritual begins.  He moves his hands in circles above the water with his eyes closed.  Without moving his lips I see him say something.  Then he takes a splash of water in his mouth.  He keeps his lips pressed together still with his eyes closed and he sprays the water over my leg.  We both settle and Q tries to stop him but I say let him do what you want to do.  Q calms down and we look at each other with a grin.  The man repeated this ritual two more times.  We thank the people and they leave with the scooter.

Q is going to clean up our camp and I decide to stand on the side of the road to arrange a lift.  We have tried to call the ambulance several times but we can’t get through.

When I’m standing on the side of the road, ladies come to help me.  The cut open Aloe vera and give it to rub on my wounds.  Which is very relieving.  With translate I can make it clear that we want to go to the hospital.  They arrange a taxi for us.t

When the taxi arrives we make a plan.  The bikes stay here in the garden of one of the ladies and all bags go with us in the taxi.  The driver takes us to the hospital.  Walk in with us.  I am quickly placed on a bed, my wounds are cleaned, rubbed with ointment and bound and within five minutes we are outside again with the rest of the tube of ointment in our hands.  We go to a hotel and make a further plan there.

The hotel owner is willing to help us pick up the bike.  So Q goes back to the lady’s house with the man and the taxi driver and then cycles eleven kilometers to this town. The hotel owner had underestimated it a bit and had a very hard time, but has earned some a nice pocket money and had a good time 😉

I’m at the hotel in the meantime.  Thinking about what happened and what this will mean.  Q and I will discuss our position later over a cup of delicious Vietnamese coffee.  We find that we are on the same page.  This situation also brings us something.  We take a break from cycling, we reflect on how we have handled it lately and can make plans for how we want to do it in the future.

 We notice that lately we have been too busy with a goal, a final destination.  That gives us a rushed feeling and there is no room for anything other than cycling, eating and sleeping.  In the evening we are so tired from the day that there is no room left in our head for thinking.  We don’t take time for stretches and yoga.  So we want to do things differently in the future.

 And to be honest, I’ve had a lot of trouble lately with my wrist that has been broken, so my wrist can also use some rest.

 We have decided that we want to continue traveling.  We have limited time in Vietnam and want to keep exploring so we take the bus to Hanoi where we can stay at Couchers for a few nights.  Couchers is a kind of Couchsurfing or Warmshowers.  We end up staying with super nice people who can give us a lot of tips about the city and good food.  And with whom we have breakfast together, dinner and drink a bottle of wine over interesting conversations.