We had a great day at Angkor Wat and are now on the road towards Thailand. It will be one long road that we have to follow towards Thailand. After the border we will be able to cycle on smaller country roads again. We are not the biggest fans of this kind of big roads. Variety is always nice, so if we can go fast on a motorway in between, but then cycle on country roads again where you can enjoy the local life more, that’s what we like best. But these days just going over the big road doesn’t really feel like you’re living in the moment. Then we live more with the goal in mind.
It’s getting hotter and we notice it. We need more breaks to get out of the sun. Then we look for a place where we can lie in the hammock, just like in southern Vietnam. In the hammock with a breeze and an ice-cold sugar cane drink, we sometimes take a break for more than an hour to recharge and avoid the hottest moment of the day.
Tomorrow we cross the border, we are already very close. We’re getting along nicely and enjoying ourselves with a podcast. We just had a long break, ate something and then lay in the hammock, but when we get back on the bike the hunger is already very present. Yet we continue cycling, we are not far from a city where we can get a snack again. But 3 kilometers before the city I (Nina) lose my concentration. I hit the rear tire of Q’s bike and lose control of my bike.
It crosses my mind that maybe I should get off my bike. Stupid choice because we were going almost 30 km per hour when I cycled into Q so the moment my foot hits the ground I immediately notice ‘No I shouldn’t do this and sit back on my saddle’. But then I’m already completely out of control and my steering wheel flips over and I fall with a hard on the asphalt.
Q looks back as I fall. He’s scared to death and squeezes his brakes. He asks how I’m doing but immediately he says. You have to get up, you have to get off the road!! I look back and see cars coming at full speed towards me. So I immediately get up as fast as I can and walk off the road to a tree where I can sit in the shade. Meanwhile, Q moves my bike.
While I’m sitting there I’m trying to figure out what the damage is. Where does it actually hurt? And how bad is the pain? Q already doubts whether this means the end of the journey, but I don’t take it that seriously yet. But slowly i start to feel the pain. My left leg is slightly shaved, especially my knee and my knee is already starting to get thick so I start to move it. I notice that I can move it well so that’s a good sign. My elbow slightly shaved and hurts a lot but moving is possible. My left hand hurts, I can move my wrist but my hand really doesn’t feel right. My big toe on my right foot is slightly shaved aswel and has a sharp pain.
Meanwhile we smell a stench, as if we are lying next to a dead animal. I feel dirty and know that it is important to disinfect my wounds as soon as possible. Q takes alcohol from the bag and I drip it on my wounds… ouch. And slowly more and more flies want to taste some of my wounds.
With difficulty I get up trying to get the flies off my wounds but they don’t seem very scared and do everything they can to keep feeding. It makes me itchy and decides to get out of here as soon as possible. So we grab the bike and head for the city. My knee is getting thicker and it’s very difficult to bend, so I put strength with one leg and the other doesn’t do anything. I also can’t hold my steering wheel with my left hand so in the end this my right half of my body does all the work.
Arriving in Sisophon we look for a place to sleep so that we can make a plan from there. But everything turns out to be pricey so we go from hotel to hotel. At the third hotel I notice that the adrenaline is weakening and all the pain is getting more and more intense. I worry about my hand and get emotional. “I think I need to go to the hospital,” I tell Q. So we look for a care center nearby. It is small and all the walls have a large dollar amount painted on them. We doubt whether they can help me because without x-rays I don’t know anything yet. And indeed they can’t take pictures and nobody speaks English. So while the woman prepares everything to treat my wounds, but we leave to look for a Hotel again.
When we have found a place I can finally rest. But first a shower so that I can clean my wounds properly and Q goes looking for a pharmacy for iodine. At the moment my whole body hurts and I feel more and more pains coming up that make it impossible for me to lie comfortably in bed.
Then the planning begins. Contact the insurance, discuss all options, look up hospitals, find ways of transportation. In the end we decide that the best option is to travel to Bangkok because the healthcare system in Thailand is much better and we have made friends in the city so we have a safety net. And we’re already so close.
The next day we take a taxi to the border. We stand in line for hours to get our passports stamped. We take a van to Bangkok with only local people around us and the bicycles that take up a lot of seats. And we are picked up by Paul and Jam at the bus station late in the evening. They have a bicycle rack on the roof of their car so we can easily take all our stuff with us and they take us to Thee. We spend the night with her for a while until I feel well enough to sleep on an air mattress with Paul and Jam.
The next day we went to the hospital. Luckily nothing was broken so the journey isn’t over yet! We are very relieved. It is recommended to take it easy and move within the pain limit. So we’re going to stay quiet in Bangkok for a while and think carefully about how we want to continue our journey. You will read more about that in the next blog!