Sunday, May 23, 2010
People in the Middle East seem to be very confused by my hobbies. Yesterday's events only further proved this theory.
I got into an accident while cycling at 45 kilometers per hour (~28 mph). I was reaching down for my water bottle and hit a raised reflector in the road (I didn't see it coming). Since I only had one hand on my handlebars I was unable to correct my balance and I went flying directly into the highway...where the locals tend to drive like maniacs at speeds greater than 100 mph. Luckily, there were no cars immediately in the location that I landed but traffic was oncoming quickly.
Now in the US (at least where I am from) if a driver came up to a cyclist crashed on the road they would stop their car, get out and try to help that person or at least make sure that they are OK. This is not the case in the Middle East. Instead the driver slows down and starts flashing their lights and honking at you for getting in their way. Then after they have made you aware of your "error", instead of stopping to help they will just drive around you while continuing to honk out their displeasure. Awesome.
As I skid out into the highway I was screaming in horror and pain. My entire right arm, shoulder, hip and lower leg became covered in "road rash" aka a wicked gravel filled abrasion. I hit my head, causing my helmet to dent and crack. I was dizzy from the impact and unable to react quickly enough to get myself out of the road and dangers way. Thankfully the other cyclists I was with (one of them being the Construction Manager of my project) were able to react quickly for me. They were able to move me and my bike to the side of the road and help me. I have to note that even after I was out of the road, still lying on the ground, cars continued to drive by and honk at us. Seriously, I am almost POSITIVE that at least SOMEONE driving by in the US would stop and help if they saw someone in distress on the side of the road without a vehicle parked nearby. Obviously a bunch of people on bikes are not going to be able to get a person to a hospital if needed. Am I right?
Anyway, I was able to get to the hospital to get cleaned up and checked out. All is well. Except again, Middle Eastern people don't understand my hobbies. Every doctor & nurse I saw kept asking me if I got into my accident while swimming. What?! How on earth would I manage to get that scraped up while swimming??!! My only guess is they were extremely confused by all the spandex I was wearing since all the Islamic women here wear like full spandex outfits that cover their entire bodies when they go swimming. But again, I was wearing spandex shorts cut well above my knees and a short sleeved spandex shirt...and also carrying a cracked helmet. I would think the helmet would be a dead give away. Wrong. Then when I told them I got into the accident while cycling, they responded: "Motorcycle?". Well, at least that is a bit closer. None of them seemed to believe that a person could ride a bike at 45 km/hr either. Guess they have never heard of Lance Armstrong.