Unconscious on one of Phnom Penh’s Major Roads

4 October.

I was walking up Monivong Avenue today, looking for a computer shop that would print off the internet. It’s surprising how many places will print and copy but aren’t connected to the internet. Monivong’s a wide street, 3 lanes each way, with concrete dividers up the middle to stop Cambodians enjoying their national sport of driving on the wrong side of the road.

On the road was a guy, with only pants on. No shirt, no motor bike helmet. He was half sitting, half slumped, slumped forward to his left, so far that this head touched the road. His face was turned to his right (i.e. to his knees). It appeared to me that, had he vomited, he could have asphyxiated. At the same time I didn’t know if moving him could aggravate a spinal injury. Why did I never take one of those first aid courses where they teach you this stuff?  I took his pulse and he had one. I tried to find someone who understood any English. “He’s drunk” said one woman bystander. “He so drunk he falls off his friend’s motor bike.”

“Can you call an ambulance?”

She waves her hand dismissively. “No need. His friend pay for tuk tuk to take him to his friend’s office.”

By the time I turned back to look at the guy again, he was flat on his back. Not the position you want to be in if you do vomit. I looked around. Two cops were  about twenty feet away. One with – I think – a rifle over his back. They didn’t seemed too concerned.

After a while a trishaw- that’s a three wheled  thing where one guys wheels the carriage from behind, using just leg power- appeared. Two other people began to lift him into the trishaw. The tri-shaw pedals off. The onlookers disperse. The cops probably didn’t even take notes.

I wonder what would happen to me if I were hit by a motorbike?


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