Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Of Bicycles and Accidents

Day 80: The waterfall that wasn't

This morning, we had breakfast and decided to follow through on our decision to rent bikes for the day and bike the 30km mountainous ride to a huge waterfall outside of town. We were excited, albeit a bit nervous, because we heard the ride was extremely difficult and would take at least 2-3 hours in the intense summer heat.

Still, we went on our way, and rode through beautiful mountain scenery and little villages with children waving at us as we rode by. The uphill parts were particularly difficult, and we sometimes had to get off the bike and walk it up the hill! At one point, a tuktuk drove by and stopped to offer us a ride to the falls (we think he saw how tired we looked), but we politely declined – hoping to conquer this trip on our own.

We made it about 11km of the ride, and were on a downhill portion of the mountain, cruising along, when it happened. Rachna, normally extremely cautious, was riding down the hill pretty fast, and hit a pothole before a bridge, slipped off the tire planks of the bridge, fell sideways and slid across it. Gaurav, who was ahead, came back, and some locals stopped to help. Rachna was in shock and the pain hadn’t kicked in yet, so she was still trying to convince Gaurav that we could continue on to the waterfalls.  We waited until the shock subsided and the pain sunk in before she admitted we had to turn around and go back to the hotel.

As we waited, many people stopped to check on Rachna, and two tourists and their guide helped bring her off the road and to the side and gave her some painkillers. We flagged down a pickup truck with a family and asked if they could give us a ride to town (they didn’t speak English but we managed). They were very nice to oblige, and Gaurav climbed into the back of the truck with the bikes and some of the family members, while Rachna rode in front.

Once we got back to the hotel, Rachna couldn’t walk on her left leg and didn’t have use of her right hand, as both were extremely bruised, scraped up, and swollen. She had scrapes and bruises everywhere, and that was pretty much the end of the day. We sat in the hotel room all day, because Rachna was in a lot of pain. We had lunch and dinner in our room, and just rested.  We hoped the swelling and bruising would settle down tomorrow, and from what we could see, nothing seemed broken. That was a bit too much of an adventure for us.

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