Sunday, December 18, 2011

4 ways to not die overseas. Really.


I know this seems like a far too sensible and also morbid thing to write about!   But recently two Australians have died here in Sihanouk Ville, one is an awful story, so I thought it somewhat appropriate.  

Dying, generally, isn't good for your health, so isn't usually recommended.  One recent death seems to have been an Aussie Navy boy, so details have really surfaced as to how he died.  But the second guy, an Australian traveller did not do his country any justice when he died doing two of our national sports - drinking and swimming!  This poor sod got so drunk that when he went for a swim in the bar pool (yes, the bar has a pool) he passed out, and slipped under the water never to resurface.

Now, just in case you thought that was bad enough, and it is, let me tell you the rest.  Someone pulled him out of the pool and proceeded to give him CPR even though they had no idea what they were doing, until two ex-military chaps took over and performed CPR for 20 mins - to no avail.  He was cold when they pulled him out of the water, so he had been there a while.

But wait, it gets worse.  The ambulance took so long, that the man's body was placed in the back of a tuk tuk, to meet the ambulance half way to the hospital.  

Remember, this guy is dead. His body was given from the tuk tuk driver to the ambulance who drove to the first hospital which, get this, REFUSED to take the body because he was dead.  So the ambulance  then took him to another hospital, which also refused him.

So, what would be the right thing to do here?  Doesn't matter.  What happens next takes the cake.  The ambulance drivers took the body… BACK TO THE PUB!!!  No fucking shit!! They took the body back to the pub and left him outside on the footpath with a sheet over him until morning when the police could come and deal with him.  Not the most dignified death I'd say!

It is definitely a reminder that while Asia is definitely a place to party, and Sihanouk Ville is definitely known as a party town, it still should be remembered that bad things can happen and things overseas are different to your home country (especially if your home country is vastly different in culture).  You don't want to find out all this when you are actually in trouble!

So, four ways how to not end up dead!

1./  Be Australian and drink smart!
I'm not saying don't get drunk and don't have a good time, but jeez, have a buddy with you and watch yourself.  And all real Aussies know you don't go for a swim when you're tanked. Idiot.  Real Aussie's know how to hold their booze!  Remember, here there is no responsible service of alcohol in some countries.  That means, your actions and the consequences are your own and yours alone.  

2./  Take out travel insurance.
I know, this one is boring and obvious.  But here is Sihanouk Ville, the closest hospital with western standard health care is a 12 hour drive away in Bangkok.  This isn't unusual in developing countries around the world.   So make sure you take out insurance so, if the need arises, you can get airlifted out!  Remember, there are other accidents besides drinking accidents (I know! Who'd have thought!!).

3./  Illegal drugs - Just don't.
Like I said, 12 hour drive if you OD and if you get caught with enough illegal substances some governments will kill you themselves!!

4./  Occasionally, think of your friends and your family.
Think of your friends, coz they will be explaining to your family how and why it happened and have to deal with the grief.  And think your family, coz they will learn the stories about how your carcass was transferred around town on the back of a motorbike, only to end up on a pavement until dawn…

…and then they need to come and get your body.

Until next time,


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