Saturday lunchtime, just done some yoga at home, riding towards the ferry to pick up a friend to go to the beach, doing about 60kph, helmet shorts tee shirt shades, some guy coming the other way decides to turn right into the gas station, no warning, no indicator, he just didn’t see me, just puts his car in front of me. I hit the brakes hard, lock up front wheel, bike skids off to one side, I go down, no recollection of the bouncing down the road bit, happens so fast the next thing I know I’m slid under the front of his car face down about up to my chest. Luckily I didn’t hit the car, and it didn’t hit me. Driver gets out, sees me, gets back in and reverses off me!!! I feel bits of the car scraping my back. Instant crowd forms, picked up / dragged to side of road, it starts to hurt, feel the hot sun beating down. Taken to village dispensary where they patch up the scrape wounds – knees elbows shoulders – by stuffing with cotton wool and dabbing with iodine. I scream. I ask the medic to check out my chest as I cant breathe properly, he says nah it would be swollen if there were any broken bones. I ask can you please check my knee because its not working, he says nah it would be swollen if there were any broken bones… He gives me painkillers and antibiotics. So I go home and go to bed, extremely uncomfortable, everything hurts, stay in bed Sunday, till monday morning when i can feel liquid sloshing around when i breathe, and can only breathe halfway, while my leg is not able to take any weight. Find AAR emergency number on the internet, they send an ambulance and take me to Aga Khan – one of the better private hospitals. X rays show several fractured ribs (5or6), fractured collar bone, and fractured knee, plus a collapsed lung. Apparently the other stuff can wait, but one of the broken ribs has scraped the lung spraying air and blood into the chest cavity. Local anaesthetic to cut, dissect and push a tube between ribs into my chest. Phhssshhhh as the air comes out, followed by blood/fluid, into a bottle that I am attached to for 5 days in a nice room with a sea view and pethidine on demand.
I was hoping I’d got to the end of the recent spate of lawlessness when the laptop that was sneak-theived from our 8th floor office was recovered after the thief got scared and dumped it in the mens loo two floors down the stairs. Probably worried he would get beaten to the ground floor by pursuers in the lift, arrested or possibly worse. However, that evening I’m driving home, waiting in a queue at the traffic lights at a major intersection, when an oldish white saloon car came past me in the right turn filter lane, and stopped alongside a smart silver new-looking 4wd Rav4. Three guys jump out and attack the Rav, surrounding it, trying to get in, shouting and intimidating the driver, then I see the flash and hear the explosion, cant work out if its gunfire, then another, sounds almost too loud and too bright for gunfire, maybe it’s dynamite or a really big firework. Can’t workout if they are shooting, or trying to blow the locked door open, or just intimidate the driver into submission. Everyone around is beeping their horns to get the cars in front to run the red light and get the hell out of there. The cars scatter. I’ve no idea whether its green or not but I stamp on the gas and cross two lanes to turn left – just trying to get as far away as quickly as possible, my heart pounding. I see the Rav speeding off, and the would-be car jackers scrambling to get back into their car and get away / give chase.
Now I realise why cars rarely stop at red traffic late lights at night in Dar, but rather keep going, albeit tentatively, beeping to warn cross traffic as they go. It seemed like a crazy risk to take but now I understand its maybe the lesser of two evils. Risk a car crash or a car jacking? Hmmm – not sure.