July 1, 2007
After a whole day of recovery, the tour continued through the Ho Chi Min Trail. A few hours of riding and we stopped at a rubber plantation. Peter explained how the workers extract the rubber from the tree.
Then a few more hours later on the bikes we stopped at a pepper plantation and had lunch there. Again in typical Vietnamese style we graciously chucked out rubbish under the tables. Apart from more amazing vistas there was one situation which changed our day.
We were riding through a minority village and three teenagers sped past us at high speed and rounded a bend. We were less than ten seconds behind this group when we came around the corner.
There on the side of the road the dust was lingering in the air. Two motorbikes lay inverted on the grass, and a few meters beyond lay two teenagers. Neither of them were moving. Because they weren’t wearing helmets there faces worn torn open.
“He probably die” said Peter. We kept going. My first instinct was to help these people, but in Asia there is a rule that if you find a dead body, you are responsible for it. The Vietnamese just have a different attitude toward life than us westerners. About five minutes later the first rider sped past again with his friend holding one of the crash victims sandwiched between the driver and himself. They were racing to the hospital.We just carried on to our hotel.
Peter later explained that if you were involved in a car accident, and you’re at fault, it’s better that the victim dies rather than live with an permanent injury requiring continual care.
You as the cause of the injury would pay for the victim’s care for the rest of their life. He said it was not uncommon to see truck drivers who had caused accident swing around and take a second pass at an incapacitated victim still in their car, or on their bike. The truck driver would only make a one of payment off $10,000US to the victim’s family, rather than be stuck with making payments for their crime.
This was a downer on an otherwise fabulous day.