Tuesday, Dec. 29th (Mui Ne Day 35)

  • Woke up at 6:30am to catch our 7am bus to Saigon.
  • The ride was 5 hours long in a “sleeper bus,” which is a normal bus full of bunked recliner seats 3 rows wide. It has a pleasant sounding name (“sleeper”) but the truth is if you are over 5’5″ the seats are nothing but hard plastic sardine packaging with a back cushion.
  • We arrived in Saigon (me, Cory, Alex our Spanish colleague, and Niem our local Vietnamese friend) in the early afternoon and found a cheap hotel to stay at across from the Bien Vien Cho Ray hospital.
  • Our friend Mathis from France is being cared for at this hospital after a bad scooter crash that occurred on the morning of the 25th.
  • Niem helped us navigate the hospital to the Head Trauma ward where we proceeded to walk right by Mathis without recognizing him.
  • The Head Trauma ward is not a happy place, to say the absolute least. There are beds upon beds of unhappy patients in all states of disfiguration creating a maze for those of us fortunate enough to be walking. Some patients are tied down, some are moaning, and every now and then a fresh victim comes in to be paraded through the maze of steel bed frames on his or her way to urgent care.
  • We backtracked and found our friend Mathis on a tiny bed close to the entrance. The right side of his face was badly swollen and his right eye was caked shut with blood. Bruising was visible on his chest, neck, and thighs.
  • Nevertheless, he locked eyes with me as soon as I came into view and sat up immediately.
  • We spent the next hour with him and his caretakers: three saints from the kiteboarding school that Mathis works at (one of them, Lauren, his boss and all from France). Mathis didn’t speak much but he gave us all high-fives when we came in and nodded to our yes or no questions.
  • Went back to the hotel for a few hours of rest before returning to be with Mathis and relieving his caretaking crew who have been looking after him 24 hours per day since the accident. He was more talkative in the evening but mostly just wanted to go home… or probably anywhere away from the trauma ward.
  • Said goodbye to Mathis just before 8pm when they lock the steel gates preventing anyone, guests included, from leaving during the night.
  • Had a quick dinner next to the hotel with some street fruit for dessert before heading to bed.
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