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Frankie goes to.....Malaysia
By Frank Roettgen - (contact)

Narathiwat - Yala: via Ban Raman

Monday August 6, 2012, 99 km (62 miles) - Total so far: 3,757 km (2,334 miles)

It was a lovely ride along the first 70 km but that was to become completely irrelevant once I got into Ban Raman. I will certainly have to ask myself whether I should better have stayed on the Malaysian side but I believe I haven´t put myself into this situation casually. I consulted several friends and spent hours on the internet while assessing the potential threat. In the end I decided to give it a go but had set myself clear rules trying to reduce that remaining risk to the minimum, no stops near any military or police personnel in particular.

Before I left Narathiwat in the morning I bought several bottles of water in the shop next to the Pacific Hotel and drank only along the road when I was away from any settlement. When I got into Raman I had more or less run out of water and as it was a very muslim town with no visible presence of Thai authorities I decided to stock up in the local 7eleven shop. It was already after 5 pm with 30 more kilometers to go to Yala so I bought a little banana cake and a can of iced coffee too. As I always do when there are fasting muslims around I stood a bit away from the street. I was in the driveway next to the shop when the owner of the property asked me to come closer to the house and sit on a chair in the shade. I had just opened the can when a mighty bang and the successive shock wave blew me off the chair. Screaming people all around me and I was staring at my bleeding leg when the owner of the house grabbed me and pulled me inside. He asked whether I needed a doctor but I could move my leg freely and didn´t even feel any pain so I decided it would be better not to draw extra attention on us by having any medics in the house who would very likely be military personnel. While we were waiting for the security forces to arrive the houseowner pointed out the crime scene to me. A motorbike carrying the device had been parked in front of the branch of the Islamic Bank of Thailand right next to the house where I had been sitting. I am sure moving into the shade around the corner of the bank building saved me from sustaining serious injuries.

It took less than 2 minutes until military and Police took over the scene and the houseowner informed them I was not in need for immediate treatment. All the same two soldiers came over and asked me to follow them out of the cordoned area. Their commandeer spoke some English and when I expressed my desire to leave the scene as I hadn´t seen anything but was scared of a follow-up explosion he allowed me to ride on. He asked for my camera though and took a photo of me at the scene which I was told to present to the Police in Yala later.

I don´t think I was under heavy shock but saying that I can´t remember anything about the last 30 km into Yala. It was getting dark when I rolled into town and asked a man on his motorbike whether he could recommend a hotel. He nodded and told me to follow him. He took me to the Parkview Hotel which is located in the „Safety Zone“, an area you can only enter via military checkpoints. After I had checked in the receptionist organised somebody who gave me a lift out to the Police HQ. After I had reported the incident, the Police took me back into town as there is a curfew in place after dark and no taxis available. I was desperate for a drink and asked the officer to drop me at a little restaurant directly opposite the 7eleven not more than 200 m from the Hotel. Tik and Nong run the restaurant and they are some of the nicest people I ever met. They did not only make me very welcome but looked after my injury too. I am fine but will stay another night in Yala until the wound is dry.

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It was great ride before that incident so I still want to show you a few photos from my route through Yi-ngo and Rueso to Raman

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On the way to Rueso

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On the way to Raman

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Immediately after the detonation, taken from my shelter
Newspaper article

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After I had been escorted out of the immediate vicinity of the crime scene

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I have to explain why I am laughing after having just been injured in a bomb explosion. The Major who took the photo asked me to smile but I told him I wasn´t in the mood to do that. Just before he pressed the button he said: "Welcome to Thailand". I couldn´t help it then...
At the time of the detonation I was sitting behind the tin roof shelter you can see between the 7eleven and the bank.

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I have never been more happy about an injury than this one. That´s with regard to what could have happened.

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Great chef, nurse and psychotherapist in one person: Nong is looking after my injury
(Video)


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"Frankie goes to.....Malaysia" Copyright © 2012-2014 By Frank Roettgen - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on August 8, 2012 05:06 PDT, last updated on August 24, 2012 06:42 PDT
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