The Scooter Saga

Agonda Travel Blog

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My ribs hurt the most out of all the injuries. They were only little mites too.

I'm not sure what the date was or in fact what day it was.  All I can tell you is that is was a glorious day just like the one before and the one before that, which made it all very easy for the entire trip to merge into one long Indian summer day.

Katie and I learned to ride scooters in Agonda which is about a 20 minute ride from Palolem where we stayed.  The beach in Agonda is incredible. You may come across one or two people other than yourself and if you're lucky you'll run into Jack around the coves.  Jack is Welsh (I think) and a resident of Agonda coves.

Hmmm Iodine memories.
.. he pops up from time to time for a very long chat about existentialism, spiritualism, the cosmos, the power of spirals and other such philosophies.  Talking with him is fabulous, when his scrappy loin cloth is in place. I've never actually seen him wear more material than a scarf you'd wear on your head.  His tan is as deep as his thoughts and he is very likely to lecture you on the perils of sunbathing for the sake of it. 

I spent a couple of hours with Jack on the day of my accident... Katie slept and I happily received Jack's lecture on how dangerous it was for her to sleep in the midday sun.

The day was just another beautiful day.  Chatting to Jack, playing Shithead on the beach with Kate, seeing who could climb up the furthest on the incredibly sharp rocks that broke up the tides.

Gorgeous darling!

As we head off back to Palolem we waved goodbye to the man in the shack who makes us wait an hour on average for our Pakora while we help ourselves to his coke filled fridge, played with the puppy that is always trying to tear off your sarong or bite the tires of your scooter.

The ride is beautiful and another reason I love to go to Agonda.  The roads are mostly clear, wide and windy.  The view is absolutely gorgeous, riding roads that very old trees rise up to meet each other in the middle far above the road blocking out most of the sun.  Even though there are sometimes cars, other cyclists, the odd bus and actual asphalt roads I always feel we are the only people left on the Earth. Its a nice feeling.

So for the ride back I put on the long floaty gypsy skirt that has far more material to it than is necessary and my runners.  To prevent the skirt from floating off, catching in the tyres and causing an accident I tucked it up underneath me and sat on it.  Like I've done everytime I've worn it.  So in my bikini top, skirt and runners we set off for home.

I lead of course because even though Katie has been as often as me she still doesn't know the way.  Katie is the perfect pre-trip coordinator in terms of how to get there the most effective route etc but on the ground once there, she's lost. For a good long time too.  Which really, is perfect because its one of the only things I can contribute that she has trouble with.

At around the half way point the roads turn into massive 2 lane highways, well India standards almost highway.  2 trucks can pass each other comfortably. Its Katies favourite section, she cuts loose a little.

It was in the section that a big white bus was on the other side of the road coming towards us.  Katie is the standard car length behind me and I'm always checking on her in my mirrors... just in case.

It was a little bit before I really realised that the bus was edging towards the middle of the road so I moved closer to the shrubbery on the edge of the road. In what seems now the blink of an eye but then it was hours the bus was entirely on my side of the road forcing me to ride along the lip where the asphalt meets the dirt with the shrub tearing at my arm.

I kept thinking "hold on, just hold on, a little bit further", I could see the end of the bus and it wouldn't be long till I could pull back onto the road.  But it wasn't to be.  The driver pulled away to his side of the road and as he did the back of his bus clipped the very back of my bike propelling it from underneath me to the bushes while I skidded out onto the road.

The only thing I thought of in that moment wasn't watch my head I'm not wearing a helmet but... don't let me tattoo hit the ground.  I'd just had it done that week. 

So I did save my tattoo it was fine. My elbow took the heat for that one.

While I'm crashing, Katie was pulling on her brakes but a car length isn't that far and she was only using her back brake.  At the very, and I mean the very last moment, she pulled on her front brake and her tyre found a mess of my hair.  She'd always been afraid of the feeling of being thrown over the front of the bike when using the front brake, so she'd never used it since our 'training day'.

While I was stuck under her tire I noticed the cheers coming from the bus. Katie rolled her bike off my hair and I looked up to the bus who were now a few metres away and the windows were a mess of arms punching the air and non descript heads with open mouths shouting things I couldn't understand.  The scene was equivalent to a bus full of English people hearing they'd won the World Cup.

I didn't really know what was going on I couldn't open my eyes wide enough to take everything in I know I must have looked like I had an eye popping thyroid problem but I couldn't absorb anything.  Katie, God love her, was off down the road after the bus walking her bike yelling obscenities at them her arm punching the air to match those in the bus.

I didn't feel any pain except the realisation that I was going to be charged through the nose for breaking the bike.  That became my first priority and my inane chant "Oh my God The Bike! The Bike" as I tried dragging from under the bushes.  I couldn't get it out but luckily 2 nice Indian men stopped and pulled it out for me, I desperately tried starting it.  It wouldn't start. I may as well buy them a new one. 

Katie turned herself away from 'chasing' the disappearing bus and came over shouted at me to forget the bike. The Indian men kindly took over fixing it while Katie took over fixing me and making sure I didn't have cuts on my head or lumps.  I finally surrendered to her mothering when I found out she was panicking that I'd concussed myself.  She was thorough and made me open my mouth to check that hadn't cracked or lost any teeth.  My protective little sister. I felt an amazing surge of love for her, she's 7 years younger and taking care of me. I was humbled.

Humbled as I was when I heard the bike start she was temporarily forgotten. I thanked the two men with over zealous hugs and told Katie to hurry. 

As we were getting ready to go a couple on a scooter slowed down to ask if we were ok I told them a little about what happened and to warn them about riding in bikinis when I realised that it was an intentional accident. It was then the first of the little tears struck that would strike quite often over the next month or so when I thought of how knocking tourists off was sport.

Pushing the tears back and instinctively knowing that if I don't go now I may be paralysed from riding and it was too far to walk the bikes back from.

So on we went.  I was absolutely petrified of any oncoming vehicle. Scooter, car, truck, bus. I stopped for them all. I must have looked ridiculous but I didn't care. I just couldn't ride past oncoming traffic.

We got back safe and went to see our friends with a big smile and a giggle told them of our troubles.  I was shocked by being utterly pampered and taken care of by friends that I'd only made in the previous week or two.  After a bit I went to see Nev my tattooist and very good friend knowing he'd have all the sterile stuff to sort me out, and he did.  He dug a stone out of the front of my ankle and ever so gently cleaned my scrapes and grazes.  I had a little cry to him about how cruel people can be and he told me of a head on accident he'd seen between a local and a tourist.  It is sport beware.

On the following days Katie wasn't so kind with tending to me....  I don't know who got the bright idea that spray on Iodine would be the most effective way to prompt the healing process.  I was worried about infection, India isn't a clean place.  So armed with a can of orange Iodine spray she sprayed my grazes while I held on for dear life to stacked sun loungers. The grazes were so deep there was no skin it was flesh, I've never known such intense pain that renders you completely unable to scream or cry or do anything except take the pain.

Three times a day, every day, She wasn't Olga Petrovski Russian Government for nothing in the dress up night. ;)  I didn’t complain though I soon found she was having nightmares in that she actually rode over my head and killed or paralysed me.  Poor bugger the accident affected her more than it did me.  I kept riding with my scrapes and bruises, it took Katie a good few weeks to even consider getting back on a bike and because of that she missed out on the automatic dirt bikes in Hampi.

Magically, the scooter guys didn’t notice that I’d had the accident and didn’t charge me a single rupee.  Luckily it was me who met the road and the bike who went into the undergrowth.

I hadn't included this picture before because I thought it was a bit rude but its there anyhoo.  That was about a week after it happened... looks like I just woke up.


mahoney says:
I remember being in Italy in 1984 and a bunch of us was crossing a street. One car stopped to allow us to go, then we heard the revving of his engine and he came bolting at us, one girl was only inches from getting hit. Don't these people know tourism puts more money into their countries than anything else? Glad you survived and are able to talk about it. :)
Posted on: Sep 21, 2006
lisalush says:
HA! Some Blog! Good on you if you get through it all!
Posted on: Sep 21, 2006
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My ribs hurt the most out of all t…
My ribs hurt the most out of all …
Hmmm Iodine memories.
Hmmm Iodine memories.
Gorgeous darling!
Gorgeous darling!
photo by: mrandmrsbreeze