On Saturday, March 6th, after a long day of classes in the morning, afternoon, and evening, 5 of us English teachers (3 girls 2 guys) took a tuk-tuk to Phnom Penh and went to the bars by the Boeung Kak Lake (big backpacker area). We hung around the area having a great time until around 3am when we went to the Heart of Darkness, one of Phnom Penh’s most popular clubs. We had a blast dancing with the security guards and laughing at all the ugly old white guys with their hookers. We stayed till closing at about 4:30am. We figured since we were still so awake we’d walk to the river to watch the sunrise.
We didn’t make it to the river. As we were walking and laughing, all in a great tipsy mood, something terrible happened. A motorbike drove by and grabbed the purse of one of the other girls to try to steal it, but the strap didn’t break. She was lifted up, swept along, and slammed into the ground, landing on her shoulder and head. I didn’t see it because I was ahead of her, but I turned around when one of the guys yelled her name. She was lying in the road and was unconscious until we ran to her and shook her awake. We sat her up and the other girl and I held her up supporting her head while one of the guys got a tuk-tuk.
The tuk-tuk driver took us to Calmette Hospital, a Cambodian hospital where they don’t speak English much at all. I wanted to go to the International SOS Medical Center, a clinic for tourists where they speak perfect English and have Western doctors, but the other 3 in the group decided we should stay where we were. We communicated to the doctors that her head hurt and she couldn’t hear out of one ear. She was very confused, but conscious, and bleeding out of her ear at this point. The doctors decided to do a cat scan, this cost $115 and we all pooled our money to pay for it, but we were still $3 short and they wouldn’t do it. I guess we found another $3, I don’t know I was on my way to the SOS clinic to see if they were open (they were, they’re 24 hours), but anyway they did the scan.
The cat scan results came back and the doctors said everything was ok. There was one more bill to pay and I waited in the bill line forever and started getting upset because I was very frustrated, worried, overwhelmed, dehydrated and still drunk by now. It was 8:30am. The 4 others went back to SCAO and I went back to Okay Guesthouse.
We all slept the entire next day.
They day after that, Monday, March 8th, I went to SCAO and the girl still wasn’t feeling well at all. Her head still hurt a lot and she still couldn’t hear, so she decided to go to the SOS clinic. The doctors there took her injury very seriously and decided to medevac her to Bangkok in a private plane that night. In Bangkok she got another cat scan and it turns out she has a skull fracture.
She’s fine now and currently recovering in the super posh Bangkok hospital, but man was it a scary experience!
Lesson learned: Do NOT walk around in the streets that late at night, no matter how short the distance is or how safe you feel in a group. This can happen to anyone. Be careful; we weren’t careful enough.