I got in a little moto incident in December and have been holding back from writing about it. To be honest I am not over it yet, and I know the second I post this family and friends are going to be on me to conquer my fears. To get back on the horse. To get put the past behind me. To...ok out of corny inspirational lines. But I am not ready. But I will use me writing this as inspiration to over come my fear.
So here is what happened.
A friend of ours was out of town for Christmas so she let us borrow her moto. I was so excited to have a way around town without having to paying outrageous prices for tukuks. I was working on an art project and I needed to get photos printed. The print shop is only about five minutes away and I was ready to be Khmer and drive my moto.
I jumped on the moto and headed out. I did so good and I was so proud of myself. I parked, put my helmet in the basket, and walked into the photo shop like I owned the place. Now at the photo guys shop you have to go back into the creepy back room to choose the photos you want. I remembered this so I asked if I should bring my moto on the curb. The last thing I wanted was to get my friends moto stolen. He gestured for me to bring the moto up on the curb. With my new found confidence I turned the moto on, stood next to it, popped it into first, and slowly worked my way up the steep curb. The moto cruised perfectly until we reached the top of the hill on the curb. I was still giving it the same amount of gas as I was when I was going up the steep part.
Before I new it the front tire flew in the air, the back tire, due to my hand still on the gas, spun forward and with force entered the shop hitting the display case and sending a woman ducking under the counter. My helmet flew out of the basket and into the busy street, the market behind me stopped and looked at the idiot foreigner with a moto up in the air with the engine still revving, again do to me not letting go of the gas.
The moto was above my heard and I was still holding on to the handle bars and I hear a bunch of Cambodian men yelling at me and rushing over. They first removed my gas hand off the gas, and took the moto out of my hands, kindly pushed me back and lowered the moto to the ground. One man then proceeded to kick the different parts of the moto reassuring me “no broken, no broken”. Another man ran into the street to collect my helmet that traffic now was trying to dodge.
I have never been more embarrassed in my life. I have done many embarrassing things but this tops them all. I watched as the poor lady reemerged from behind the counter (aka her protection of me) and surveyed the damage. I was too concerned with making sure that the moto wasn't broken that I didn’t ever look at the glass case I ran into. I peered over and began to apologize non stop. She saw the crack in the glass just as I saw it also. She was so gracious to me and all I could think of was, “I hope that was there before!”
The men parked the moto for me and encouraged me to move on. I entered the man’s photo store but his “hehehehe” hissing laugh with a finger pointing at me did not calm my nerves.
My hands never stopped shaking, so when it came time to leave I didn’t know if I could drive away without causing more of a scene. The man lowed the moto back down the curb for me, I am sure he did this because he didn’t want any more damage to occur, then pointed my moto in the right direction and walked away hissing “hehehehe!” This was not encouraging, but I wanted to get home and forget this all happened. When I started the moto I felt like every eye was on me. It was as if I could hear them saying, “Lets see what the foreigner does this time.” I pulled away very shaky but made it home safely.
When I returned home I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh, I chose to cry. Ever since that moment I have been scared. I re-live running my bike into the shop over and over again. I see the fear in the ladies eyes as she ducks for safety and I hear the “hehehe” hiss in my ear. A few days later it came time to pick up the photos. I returned to the scene of the crime in a tuktuk and the man recognized my face. Not a pleasant experience.
I am just so afraid. I hate being afraid of this. It’s stupid. I am going to conquer this. I hope that this is the only moto incident I have to share with you. I will keep you posted about my moto riding. (And if there is another "incident" you can be positive it will take another five months for me to write about it!)