Sound Carries

I live high up in a 32 story building.  For 5-8 km around me the tallest building is less than 5-6 stories.  This means that all types of sounds carry up to my ears with nothing to block it, and with a clarity you'd have to hear to believe.  From vendors haggling over the price of somtum to the ear shattering wail of modified motorsais, the sounds reach my ears in a volume which competes heavily with the sound level from my television.  Often I must close the windows and turn on the AC, not because it's hot, but to block out external sounds so I can hear my television without interference.


After Midnight

This is when it gets interesting.  The races begin!  The occasional fight comes through the window in surround sound and at about 1am the cars start to be driven much more aggressively.  You can hear the cars being driven faster, the motors revved higher, and drivers laying on the horns as their increased speed causes near misses.  I'm sure a fair share of people on the road at this time are coming home from bars and clubs a few sheets south to the wind.


Keeping Score

Okay, I don't really have a scorecard but I do mentally keep track of how many crashes I notice each week.

I'm sure I don't hear them all, but on average there are 3-4 crashes per week which I'd guess are pretty serious in nature.

Types of Crashes

This doesn't take as much experience as you might imagine.

1.  Car on car crashes.  You'll usually hear two sets of screeching tires followed by a very loud impact then followed by the sound of tinkling glass.

2.  Car on inanimate object crashes.  You might hear screeching tires or not, often right out of the blue you'll hear a big bang followed by a tearing noise as the metal of the car wraps around a tree or light pole.

3.  Car on big truck crashes.  Two sets of screeching tires followed by an extremely loud banging noise and then followed by the sounds of broken glass falling to the asphalt.

4.  Car on motorsai crashes.  These are the worst.  Two sets of screeching tires, but one set sounds very different from the other.  The crash sound is there, but is' muffled as if the car is hitting a sack of potatoes.  You can't mistake the sound of a car hitting a human body for any other sound.

What you don't hear which is different from the west is the follow-on sirens of emergency police, medical, etc.  I've often wondered who cleans up the mess, but every morning I see no sign from the crash the night before.


One Particular Crash

This week I heard the two sets of screeching tires and a huge multiple impact.  After this wreck all the other noises you normally hear stopped for a few minutes before resuming.  I could instantly tell this was a big truck on car on car crash.  I could tell it was bad and while I really wanted to hear sirens and help coming, none came.  There was silence,  This time I went out on the balcony and peered down but couldn't see anything.


The Next Morning


critical car accident on Pattanakarin Bangkok

Fuji Finepix F200EXR, EXR auto mode


The next morning I was going somewhere.. when out of the corner of my eye I noticed several smashed cars up on the sidewalk.  I didn't have a real camera with me, but I always carry my trusty Fuji F200EXR point and shoot so I stopped to have a look.


Bangkok, deadly car crash

Fuji Finepix F200EXR, EXR auto mode


It didn't take long to see where the truck broadsided the drivers side of a Peugeot.  And how that car spun and smashed into another car parked next to the road powering both the cars up off the road surface, across the sidewalk, and into the front of some shop houses.


Multiple car crash, Pattanakarin Bangkok thailand

Fuji Finepix F200EXR, EXR auto mode


In the process the cars tore down about 15-20 meters of metal awning.  I looked along the sidewalk for blood trails to see if they might have taken out a pedestrian, but thankfully due to the late hour  the sidewalk was empty.


Deadly  car crash Pattanakarin Bangkok Thailand

Fuji Finepix F200EXR, EXR auto mode


You can't see it from these images unless you zoom in, but the Peugeot took out a couple water pipes and the water was bubbling up from the ground about 24 inches high.  It was obvious the cleanup process started late, but was well underway.


Deadly car wreck, Bangkok Thailand

Fuji Finepix F200EXR, EXR auto mode


It's also obvious the driver couldn't have fared too well in this crash.  You would hope from the impact angle that he was thrown towards the passenger side thereby escaping being trapped in the metal.  There was plenty of blood though.


car crash Bangkok Thailand

Fuji Finepix F200EXR, EXR auto mode



Trauma Care Where?

Wrecks like these really brings home the reality that in Thailand there is no coverage of paramedics, no trauma centers, and I'd guess you'd have to be very lucky to be brought to the right hospital where a trauma trained surgeon would just happen to be.

I've asked, but there seems to be effort on Thailand's part to build trauma coverage into their emergency medical systems.  One of the issues with having private clinics, private hospitals, government hospitals, army hospitals, police hospitals, is that they don't really work together to provide emergency trauma coverage.

In the west there is a coordinated effort to make trauma coverage accessible so many minutes after an initial incident, whether it be by ambulance or life flight.  In Thailand you get private pickups with bed not even long enough to stretch out in, privately owned and equipped, with privateers out there trying to earn a few baht by picking up the pieces.  Sure, the better hospitals have ambulances, but these are for transporting their patients between home and facilities, not for emergency services.

When I travel I make sure my wallet is on my person at all times, and my insurance cards are the first thing they'll see when they open my wallet.  They might not be able to read your language, but they can see medical insignia (crosses, doctors crest, etc) and if they assume you have coverage they'll take you to a decent hospital.  Of course there might be a few hour trip in traffic, but TIT!

Until next time..