Life is funny. Some days you wake up and things are – meh – run of the mill, nothing to write home about. Other days you wake up and experience a day you never imagined.
I’ve had three traffic accidents in the last month. In the first, I was found at fault – a “tuktuk” swerved left to avoid a pothole on a road I knew to be badly potholed (Avenue des Etats-Unis, or USA, in Burundi – so I guess it’s partly our fault from the get-go) and I ended up slamming into the rear of his vehicle with my motorcycle. When he fled the scene and I finally managed to start the bike, I chased him down to my place of work, where I was able to get the armed guards to force him to stop.
In the second, some buffoon passed me on the right and decided that the halfway point of the passing maneuver was the appropriate time to cut into my lane. Moral of the story: crappy off brand import can’t compete with a Land Cruiser. But he still insists it was my fault.
Then last week, a car pulled out from a dirt road onto a priority road I happened to be on. I flashed, then honked, which caused the driver to collapse into mental disarray, neither accelerating nor stopping, and after skidding 30 meters I crashed my motorcycle into his car. (Oh, but you should have seen the OTHER guy’s car). Short flight over the handlebars onto her hood, roll left, end up on my back in the middle of the road. A crowd of Burundians at this point think the best course of action is to force me to sit up and remove my helmet. Good thing I had no major injuries, spinal or otherwise.
At this point, my motorcycle is permanently making a left turn because the frame has a 15 degree kink and who knows what else wrong with it. She wants to work out an “arrangement” because my bike has only minor damage. Yeah, if you’re into driving in circles.
At this point, I assume the bike is a total loss. But I was not prepared for the ingenuity of the Burundian mechanic. In a “workshop” somewhere on an unpaved road in Bujumbura, these guys completely disassembled my bike, straightened the frame in the 3 places where it was bent, the handlebars, shocks, and other assorted bent metal parts. Three days and about $200 later, the bike was back in my driveway, better than before.
So that was a pretty bad day, followed shortly by a pretty good day. But what I really intended to write about was the day AFTER that. I guess we’ll make that a separate post 😉