The next morning, I rode solo toward Saigon. I planned a layover in Phan Thiet, but it was a nice day with light traffic so I rolled on. I should have known better. It was Sunday afternoon on the last day of the Tet holiday. Traffic built to a maddening level. Thousands of overloaded motos jammed the side lane, a steady stream of cars, buses, and behemoths battled for passing rights, and I rode in fear.

I stopped for gas in Bien Hoa. A trip that previously took five and a half hours had taken nine. It was dark, I hurt, and traffic packed tighter into the bottleneck. I wanted to crawl into a void and pass out; instead, I squeezed in.

At a different hotel, I learned the painful mistake of an assumption: there was no parking for the Fat Boy. I had no choice but to accept an offer of guidance to another. The guy led me on an anxiety-filled ride through the heaviest moto traffic I had ever been in. While I twisted on the front end in the stop and go mob, with lots of front brake action, my whimpers turned to screams.

Finally, we arrived. I popped some pills and passed out. The next morning, I took a taxi to an international hospital. The doctor shook her head at my story, then showed me the x-ray. A fracture broke halfway through the bone with a splinter below it. “That’s exactly what if feels like,” I said. She gave me a bottle of pills and a simple sling, and sent me off with instructions: “Stay off the motorcycle, or you will be sorry.”


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