Saturday, April 28, 2007

Adventures In Cuba - Mopeds Can't Climb Trees

As promised yesterday, here is the story of what happened to Steve's wife.

I was sitting in the pool when someone came by and said that there had been an accident involving one of the guests. Soon word came in that someone had been involved in a moped crash and had to be taken to the nearby hospital in Pilon. Eventually we found out it was Steve's wife.

The buzz at the hotel was huge. Everyone wanted to know what had happened but no one had details. Finally the hotel nurse was cornered and forced into spilling the beans.

Steve's wife had to be hospitalized due to injuries sustained from being impaled on the branches of a small tree after being thrown from her moped.

Of course, once we found out she was going to be okay, we all started laughing about it. The hotel's mopeds had a top speed of about 40 kph. On level ground. With the wind coming from behind. Getting thrown into a tree by a moped was fairly close to impossible, we reasoned. The rest of the day was spent advancing theories (which grew more outrageous with each drink consumed) as to how she could have possibly ended up in a tree.

We laughed. We mocked. We had no idea that Karma was waiting in the wings for the first schlemiel who dared to sit on a moped.

Of course that schlemiel was me.

I used every weapon in my arsenal to get my family to let me try out a moped. They knew better, especially my mother. Given the amount of time I've spent in the Emergency Room, she knew that allowing me to get on a moped was a recipe for disaster. But I insisted. I knew the danger. I was going to be very careful. Look at what happened to Steve's wife. I'd learned from her hard lesson. I promised to stay away from trees.

So my father and I rented a pair of mopeds and headed down the road to freedom. No helmets, no socks. Just shorts and tee-shirts. Brilliant.

We visited the nearby town of Pilon, driving very safely and everything was fine. We headed back and slowly I started getting confident. It was great. The sun was shining, the ocean was on my right, the Sierra Maestra mountains were on the left. The road was freshly paved and completely devoid of traffic. Oh, did I mention the road was completely flat too? There was no way I could possibly have an accident under those conditions.

Unless of course, I stopped paying attention.

I snapped back to attention at the exact moment my front wheel left the road. I did the one thing you should never do with a two-wheeled vehicle. I over corrected. The moped flipped up on it's front wheel and I went for a brief flight. I remember watching a guy on a horse watch me as I flew headfirst towards the pavement. My left temple and shoulder took the brunt of it at first. Then the moped landed on me and peeled a layer of skin off my leg.

I lay there for a while listening to the surf and the sound of my father's moped put-putting it's way up the road towards me. He yelled and asked me if I was okay, so I sat up and checked. I felt fine. So fine that I brushed the wet hair away from my forehead, allowing the split in my scalp to release the fountain of blood that had been waiting burst forth.

By the time I got back to the hotel I was caked all down my left side with blood. I walked through the lobby to gasps and whispers. I headed down the path towards the pool, where the nurse's station was. My mother was sitting in the shade with her back to me. She didn't even have to turn around. The looks on the faces of the people sitting around her told her the whole story.

She knew. I should have known better too.
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3 comments:

The Nightbreeze said...

Several people enter Cuba, none walk out!

Raspberry said...

I've never been on a moped... I think it'll be some time before I try now. So, did you have any fun in Cuba?

Anonymous said...

oh boy. i have heard so many horror stories about those mopeds! I doubt this will be the last...