May 24. Of motorbikes and hospitals.

We almost miss our morning ride to Namtha. I have the bus tickets and the bus (there are only a few daily) stops at Bryan and Leila’s house early. We rush to the streets and take our seats in the crammed minibus. Quick handshakes and best-of-luck constitute our goodbye to these wonderful people. I want to move on to Luang Prabang, but overestimated the bus frequency on the tourist trail. We stay in another guesthouse and book tickets for tomorrow.

Today, we rent a motorbike with the innocent intention to do some sightseeing here in Luang Namtha. We ride around and quickly find out that there are not so many roads we could travel on. In a silent backstreet, Yeon tries the motorbike but unfortunately operates it with the wrong reflex, making the Honda leap forward in first gear and then throw her on the asphalt. It’s a flesh wound, and she’s bleeding a lot. A woman sees us and takes Yeon to the hospital, giving me the opportunity to follow her on the motorbike – a stressful yet effective way to get to know a vehicle. I still prefer those Honda bikes if I rent a light motorcycle. Anyway, we rushed through the quiet streets of Luang Namtha towards the small local hospital with Yeon holding her arm tight to stop the bleeding.
At the hospital we can explain ourselves and a young doctor will stitch the wound. When I walk to the paying counter I suddenly see a familiar face: Bryan is here. They came to the hospital too for an x-ray, and the unfortunate conclusion was that the wrist was broken, and the couple would travel to Bangkok for decent treatment. Such a coincidence! When I leave that hospital, I am full of mirth.
With Yeon’s wound stitched, the bike brought back, we steal into one of the wifi-enabled restaurants and indulge in the internet.

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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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