My auto-rickshaw flipped over

i broke my collar bone yesterday and i’m stuck in indian travel hell. i’m in a bad mood for sure.

i left varanasi on a 2.5 hr late train after a 4am wakeup. i was heading to bodghaya, the place where buddha meditated for enlightenment. got off the train and shared a moto-rickshaw with a japanese guy. part way there the two drivers in the front seat switched. why i’m not sure. my guess is that the 2nd guy was just learning how to drive but i don’t know. i didn’t object because they spoke no english, the country road wasn’t chaotic and he was driving conservatively. then another rickshaw was for some reason driving right at us on our side of the road. my rickshaw turned to sucessfully avoid it but tipped and crashed. everything fell on to my side. japanese dude (unhurt landed on top of me), rickshaw pined me, windshield fell out. scrambled out and away quickly because they couldn’t turn the thing off. i imediately saw that me shoulder was broken. looked like it was a near compound fracture by how stressed the skin was. a nice suv stopped to gawk and i ran over to them, and basically demanded that they take me too the hospital. i saw that the rickshaw driver was all bloody and i left.

the guys in the suv were a great help and also not. in gaya, they took me to the “specialist”. tiny two rooom clinic where i was breezed past the massive crowd waiting. the doctor told me that i only dislocated my shoulder, which was true and i also broke something. i told him i broke it (you can see the deformity! and he again said no. dude was very unhelpful, not asking about anything, nor helping me to rest my shoulder. got some immediate xrays (w/ like 15 people in the room. broken. not that it was explained to me. he gave me a shot, three different pills (one is calcium, two others i don’t know), then pushed on the bone a little bit. i have no idea whether he successfully reset it, doubt it!. didn’t even give me a sling. but i do have a strange style wrap on that has some plaster too. the medical care was free though.

what to do? i decided to try to fly to delhi and was told i could do so that night from patna, 3hrs away. the guy lives there and would drive me. they were super generous, buying me food, water, not accepting gas money, paid my phone bill home… drove one hour, then detour to pick up one guys wife (who he ended up trying to get with, i think to impress me). i don’t care! i broke my shoulder. then a very strange stop at the “school” that he owned. there are many many of these private “universities” here. a half dozen students were there taking a test and i was paraded in front of them for photos. and it turned in to over an hour where i had a “minder” and was told to sit in a room (which i didn’t do). it was pretty shady. later, when i felt trapped i started making a fuss about being in pain and wanting to go to patna. then they good naturedly told me that they weren’t going to patna but that they’d take me to the local train that went there. are you fucking serious?! ok, lets go, it leaves in 10 min. at the station, they turned out to be going to patna and would take me for $20. i decided to make my break from these semi-helpful, yet shady dudes and go by train.

lonely planet describes the area that i’m in as the most dangerous in the country, w/ banditry, lawlessness, violenence and an attitude that its ok. great. so i’m standing at a rural local train station that likely never has tourists. of course i’m a scene w/ 50 people staring at the guy with an arm in a homemade sling, road rash and torn clothes. somebody gives me a train ticket for free. the a guy that speaks a little english comes over and is a friendly face. thank god. he sticks by me and carries my bag. finds me a seat. its a 2hr ride. at the station it’s a dense mob of humanity pushing each other. but a batallion of big men surround me as protectors. thank god. and the guy carrying my bag stays w/ me for the next hour as i go to 9 different counters trying to get on a train. they’re sold out til the next night, the same time as the next plane. grrrrrr… india is overcrowded and even w/ doctors permission, and 5 diferent officials helping, there is no way. so in to town i go.

then the nightmare of patna. at night the streets are extremely crowded and i have the usual rickshaw driver who is scaming me. i refuse his hotel that is expensive b/c me gets a big commission. we head out and i find only a dozen “full” hotels. rumor is some don’t allow tourists. and the others are full of indian tourists. so i go to the lying rickshaws scam of a place. it’s excessively unfriendly. fuck you hotel wellness. but at 9 pm, after 7 hrs of post injury travel i settle down to room service.

this morning i’m dumbfounded by patna. not a single friendly person and no businesses open at 9am.

i’m going to delhi. have a real doctor reset my bone tomorrow. a broken collar bone is a minor injury. i can get rid of most of my stuff and travel light. but i don’t know what i’ll do. monsoon is going to make anywhere that isn’t the mountains shitty. and i can’t carry a pack for at least a month. i need to escape the hell of urban india. i’m going to have to make some decisions in the next few days.

fuck fuck fuck

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