Here’s the scene: First off, I’m on a small island off the east coast of Thailand. It’s 5:30am New Years Day, I’ve been dancing to psytrance all night. I’m really tired and the music is too slow, so I decide to walk home and get some rest. I’m walking along the main road between villages, and the moon is down so it’s really dark.
Walking on the left and watching my back – I don’t trust anyone on the road tonight, and frankly I don’t trust anyone on the road anytime. This island is full of 20-something year old drunk “farang” – the Thai word for westerners. Scooters, motorcycles and taxi trucks are wizzing by constantly in both directions. Suddenly I hear screeching tires and a loud crash behind me.
First thought: “What the hell???”
Turn around and see a cloud of dust
Second thought: “Oh fuck, this is bad!”
Now I hear groaning on the side of the road – groans of pain.
Third thought: “Holy shit, what do I do???”
Fourth thought: “These people are fucked up and they need help – what now???”
I, and a few other people who were on the trek home this morning, run over to the scene. There are two scooters on the side of the road. Three people are in mangled poses, bleeding, and unconscious on the side of the road. Two people are bleeding but conscious. The two – the brother and girlfriend of one of the unconscious people – get up and immediately run to his side. She’s screaming and freaking out. His brother is lifting his head and trying to get him breathing again. He does, but doesn’t wake up.
Meanwhile, the other two guys wake up and start to get up and pick up their scooter. At the same time, people from a nearby pub come running out to the scene. The two guys who just woke up – locals – try to get on their scooter and ride away. I stand in front of their scooter so they can’t leave. Still the guy on the ground isn’t waking up.
The guys from the the pub, also locals, were trying to help with finding a telephone and/or ambulance. This is where things get even more fucked. Let me preface this by saying everyone involved was extremely drunk – most likely the cause of the wreck in the first place.
The conscious brother jumps into blame mode. He wrongly accuses one of the guys who came from the pub as being the driver of the other scooter. The brother is a big burly Irish dude and he’s drunk. He jumps into the face of the innocent, and equally burly, drunk Thai guy, yelling “You fucking CUNT, I’ll fucking KILL YOU!” The drunk Thai guy doesn’t respond well to this and starts yelling back – probably the same phrase but in Thai. Still the unconscious brother hasn’t woken up.
I push between the two – being a bit drunk myself, yet aware of the situation, I had no problem intervening. I push them apart and try to reason with the Irish dude that he really should be focusing on his brother right now and not starting a brawl on the street. This is all well and good until the Thai dude does a running jump kick to the chest of the drunk Irish guy.
At this point there are many people around and we all separate the two. Still the unconscious guy is unconscious, and it’s getting scary. This guy needs a hospital, and he needs it quick. Oops, sorry, this is Thailand, no such thing as 911 on Koh Tao Island.
I know there’s a medical clinic just around the corner, but it’s closed. The guy has been unconscious for about ten minutes now. I stand in the middle of the road and flag down a taxi. They agree to take him to the local hospital, but he needs to be put in the back seat of the taxi. As one of the girls in the taxi rightly stated, if he’s got a back injury, he can’t be moved. Still he hasn’t woken up.
Eventually the brother decides that it’s ok to pick him up and put him in the taxi (God knows how long it would take for an ambulance to show up). Upon lifting, he regains consciousness, though he can hardly move and it takes four people to lift him – did I mention he was a large fellow? Hopefully this, and the fact that he was completely wasted, saved his life. I don’t know because the last thing I saw of him was him being lifted into the taxi.
This brings me to my conclusion? Yes, that could have been me, except that from the first moment I got on a motorcycle, I swore to myself that I’d never, ever ride drunk! I’ve done A LOT of stupid shit in the past involving cars and booze, and I cringe when I think of the danger I’ve put people in, much less myself. Ive been a stupid asshole in my past, but I cannot, and will not put peoples lives in danger like this again. After going through this situation, I get angry at the thought of driving drunk. What if it was one of my brothers, and he didn’t wake up?