Crashing in Thailand........

Feb 23, 2003
Well, as I was wanting to see some different scenery other than Chiang Mai, decided it was road trip time!! So loaded up the Adventure and headed south to Bangkok. Was hung up there for about a week or so exploring the amazing nightlife there. Had so many twenty year old cute bar girls telling me I was a handsome man I almost started to believe them. Then about a two hour trip down south again to Pattaya. I believe this spot is the closest thing on Earth to Soddom and Gomorra........ Thousands of bars and gogos filled with young Thai girls seeking financial support. Sorry no pictures.....It is sort of to the flesh trade what Las Vegas is to gambling. Many foreigners choose to retire there, as it has wild night life, endless restaurants, and costs are relatively cheap.
After a week there of suffering alone there my Thai girlfriend joined me. We decided to log some island time. One of the prettiest spots that is still easy to access is Koh Chang. It about three hours south from Pattaya, and off the coast a couple of miles. Ride onto a small car ferry,pay a couple of dollars, and off you go. It is more developed now than is was two years ago, but still pretty low key compared to the real world. Stayed in a spectacular bungalow right on the sand for about $ 40. Pricey by Thai standards but worth it. Went on a elephant ride ( pretty touristy for me...) but still fun. The island is small so you can get up in the morning and pretty much see the whole thing by late afternoon. There are some very nice waterfalls there,but they were bone dry as this is the end of dry season. About four days there, and then time to head north.
About an hour after getting off the ferry was doing about 50 MPH on the super highway. It was on the outskirts of town with some mild congestion. I was coming up on a green light. Out of the corner of my eye I see a Thai guy on a small Honda step through bike coming up on the edge of the intersection. Have seen this a thousand times and gave it no thought as I was traveling in an intersection. If it was the open road I would have slowed down and flashed my high beams to let him know to be carefull. Anyway he never slowed down , just kept right on going straight across my line of travel. So suddenly I transition from pleasant tropical holiday to FACEPLANT TIME !!!!

I had a hard time figuring out in one second if I should have speeded up and tried to cut in front of him, or slow and try to go behind him. Sort of like a full size two dimensional puzzle involving two objects, but with your life at stake. Finally processed it out and tried to go behind him. Ended up hitting him at just about the center of his rear tire. He also had a huge stainless box full of food on the back of his bike. Of course that took out both my headlights as well as the windshield. No way to keep the bike up as the forks were severly bent on impact. So down I went on the right side of the bike. My girlfriend flew off on her own. Hit her head hard on impact with helmet on , but no road rash. I ended up sort of sideways still half in the bike. I hate to admit it, but was wearing my usual tropical riding equipment due to the hot weather and Heinekin brain damage. Sandals, shorts, and T shirt. The crash bar and Touratech box died to save my leg. So ended up laying in the road in MAJOR shoulder pain. Crawled off and laid against a lamp post to regroup myself. Bike in the middle of the road laid down, and in a bizarre twist there was food everywhere from the giant box on his bike. Emergency transport here is pretty funny. The police show up in a few minutes and take control of the scene. They simply stop the first pickup truck they see, and dragoon it into a hospital trip. So they throw both of us in the back like cordwood, and off we go. The Thai guy was drunk, and ended up with a medium size cut over his forehead. God really does take care of drunks and little children. If I was not having such incredible pain I think I would have punched him around a bit while we were traveling to the hospital.
Huge lump now appearing on my shoulder, so I knew I was hurt bad, not just bruised. The moron doctor at the low rent local hospital said I was fine, just a bruise. X ray showed no broken bones. He must have thought I was a cry baby foreigner. After taking some pain pills am finally able to walk around, and head back to the police station.
The most important thing to know about Thailand, which every long term expat knows, is that any accident involving a foreigner, is the fault of the foreigner. Go figure. The convoluted logic is that if you did not come to Thailand the accident would not have happened. ????????
So any accident is a money making opportunity for the police, especially if it involves a rich foreigner. So normally you open your wallet and start paying people until the police let you go. So I am sittting at the police station at 9:00 at night, and hear the police asking my girlfriend in Thai how much my bike was worth. As I was in a lot of pain and not in my usual jovial mood, I told her to tell them that a drunk Thai guy was the 100 % cause of the accident, and not one baht was going to be leaving my wallet. The policeman writing up the report kept telling me to cool down. I told him in Thai that he had the bad luck to have the hottest tempered foreigner in Thailand standing in front of him......... Upshot was I never paid anyone, which amazed all my friends here. They had never heard of that happening before.
So contracted a truck to pick up the smashed bike and headed back to Bangkok. The Thai police were so angry at letting a well heeled foreigner leave without extracting money from him they told my girlfriend to tell me to never come back to their town. No problem.

Finally get to Bangkok with the aid of a lot of pain killers. Went to see a doctor at the finest hospital in Thailand, where a lot of foreigners go for elective operations. He x rayed both shoulders, and showed me the right side one with the collar bone popped up about a half inch. Diagnosis was I ripped out the ligaments holding the collar bone down. As I was steering to the right when I hit all the impact was transferred to my straightened right arm. Also had my girlfriend behind me. So on impact she went into my back, and my right arm was driven into my shoulder socket. Something had to give, so the ligaments gave up the ship. Went under the knife the next day. He opened up the whole shoulder, and put in two stainless pins to hold the collar bone down while the ligaments heal. Sadly I can look forward to operation version two as the pins must be pulled out in nine months. I told the doctor it would be fine with me if the pins stayed in, he just started laughing.....Thai hospitals are nice, since for about $ 100 per day I had a room that would have done justice to a fine hotel. Plus the bonus of all these cute Thai nurses fussing over you.
The Thai guy did not have a pot to piss in, so of course all expenses were paid by me. Operation here was about
$ 2700. A tough break overall, but I am still walking and talking, and will be on the bike in a couple of months. Sorry was not able to get accident scene photos . Thought about it briefly at the time, and decided to forget it.
Here is a photo of my zipper scar. Was really fun grossing out Thai girls in bars. They knew I was hurt and all wanted to see my shoulder. When I would pull my shirt back so they could see all the staples they would jump back like I pulled a cobra out of my pocket.
Ride safe and never underestimate the foolishness of other drivers. If I had been a car instead of a bike he would be six feet under the ground now.
Aug 16, 2003
Hey Robert,

You're the tall guy, right? -:) I rode with you on the Lisu New Year Trip (Dutchie on the black Honda Super Four). Very sorry to read about your accident. Hope you'll be back in the saddle soon. Don't forget your daily dose of Dutch pain killers they call Heineken!!