Tonight we were walking home from a very nice dinner on China Beach, when we heard, then saw a motorcycle crash across the street. We hurried across to try and help. We found a man out cold, a cigarette in his hand, and gasoline leaking from the motorcycle. Claire crushed the cigarette and threw it away, and I got the motorcycle off him, and upright so the gasoline would stop spilling, and turned off the key.
We tried to rouse him, and were greeted with soft moans for a couple of minutes until his eyes opened. We checked him for damage and found mostly abrasions, and apparently a very sore head because he kept rubbing it and groaning. We encouraged him, kept him awake, and checked him out as best we could in the darkness. We haven’t seen a policeman since we arrived in Vietnam, and passers-by showed no inclination to stop, so we knew we needed to help him.
Within a few minutes, he managed to get astride his motorcycle. I was about to remove the key and hide it, he was obviously drunk, when another motorcycle stopped for our waving. We got lucky. The young woman, riding behind her boyfriend, spoke some English.
By now our friend was lucid enough to understand we weren’t going to let him ride. He was able to tell her a phone number, and she made a contact with a family member. She said she would stay with him until they came.
That’s when he began to throw up great volumes of dinner and booze. Everybody jumped away from him; it was impressive. It must have made him feel better, because he smiled at us. We had been patting him on the back and offering encouraging words, so he wanted to shake hands with us both. We agreed to wash our hands as soon as we got back to the hotel.
I’m glad we stopped and roused him when he chundered. Had we not forced him awake, he could have drown in his own puke. It happened to a college acquaintance of mine.
Our hotel is close, so I went back a big bottle of water, and that cheered him. His wife was there by then, and I felt sorry for her. I doubt this is the first time for him, he wasn’t young, probably in his 40’s.
So now we know how some of those 25,000 motorcycle accidents a day happen in Vietnam. We hope most of them happen at night. We have Zippy parked by sunset.