Patouxay Monument

In the early evening of my first full day in Laos, my cousin Bay and her friend took me out to dinner. Before dinner we decided to go to the Patouxay Monument for a nice stroll and to take some pictures. Bay didn’t know her way around Vientiane since she is from Pakse but her male friend knew his way around. We were on motor bikes with no helmets. It is against the law to not wear a helmet during the day and perhaps at night time too. Most of my relatives are not into wearing helmets and they even cut off the mirrors of their bikes because they think it is not cool.

What happened that night gave me quite a scare. We’ve just left my aunt’s house near Wattay Airport and saw an accident on a very busy road with lots of construction. We came upon an intersection with lots of people shouting. Bay drove the bike to get pass the crowd and within my right arm’s reach I saw a girl with long light brown hair with her head tilted back. Her eyes were closed and her arms were falling down with no movement. I saw blood all over her head and her hair. Her face was covered with blood, dripping down from her forehead, from her nose and her mouth. There was blood running down her body and her arms.

My heart was pounding and I was shaking and couldn’t quite know how to react to such a tragic incident. The man that was holding her up was shouting to the Jumbo that sped passed us a couple of minutes before. He told the Jumbo drive to move out of the way. People on the left side of the street were begging someone to take the girl to the hospital. They were saying please take her to the hospital because she is still alive. None of the Jumbo drivers wanted to take her because they feared the girl would die on the way to the hospital and that would be bad luck.

I didn’t see any collision at the spot, only an SUV with a man holding the poor girl. My conclusion was that she got hit by a car while trying to cross the street. It is very dark at that location with hardly any lighting. Bay told me not to look and drove passed the Jumbo in front of us. When we got to Patouxay Bay said that she would have turned back if it was not for her male friend. She said the traffic in Vientiane is too much, unlike in Pakse and that she is more comfortable driving in her hometown than at a big city. She also told me not to tell my two aunts about what we saw earlier that night.

I was still shaken by what I saw a few minutes before and was not able to absorb the music, the lights and the water display at Patouxay Monument. All I could do was saying a prayer so I can make it back home in one piece.

After the water display we went to La Bieng Lom restaurant for Sien Dart (Laotian Fondue). I didn’t have much appetite and ate mostly vegetables cooked in the Fondue pan.

On the way home Bay said there must have been a big accident during the day at one of the main streets. I looked back and saw broken glasses at one intersection. Bay said not to worry and that nothing bad can come to us since we were at a wat in the morning and got blessings.

We got home safe and sound after dinner. However, I was not able to sleep that night and kept thinking about the girl and wondering if she is dead or alive. I also wanted to know if that girl was Lao or Farang. I saw a long hair Farang girl walking on that road early in the day around noon time. With so many Lao girls having light colored hair, it is hard to tell from a distance at night time.

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