Sunday, January 4, 2015

Khao Lak and the Tsuinami

Khao Lak was very hard hit by the 2004 tsunami, and we arrived on December 27 just one day after the tenth anniversary of the tsunami that completely destroyed the region.  Our driver, one of the hotel owners, told us that she lost "only two brothers" during that freak incident, as if she counted herself lucky.

When we went to look at the images of the unbelievable damage that that storm caused all around the region, totaling 227,898 fatalities from Indonesia to Thailand to Sri Lanka to Africa, it was really hard to believe that the tsuinami rolled in exactly where we were currently laid out, enjoying the sun and trying to get a tan.

Coupled with the news of the disappearance of the AirAsia flight from Indonesia on its way to Singapore, and on the days before the new year I could only think about how fragile life is, and how swift and merciless its end.  Michael was also reading Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" and becoming steadily obsessed with mountaineering and the deaths that culminated on Everest since 1996… so the two of us were a disaster obsessed duo in the few days following Christmas.   Needless to say that was a bit of a downer during the happy holiday season. 

On one of our days, we went to check out the police boat 813 that was dragged 2 kilometers inland from the coast and left to rest where it landed.  It had been in the water on that fateful day, guarding the royal family and specifically the princess's son, who was jetskiing at the casa de la flora hotel.  (This hotel was less than 200 meters to my left as I sat at the Shambhala).

Here and here are two more articles about the tenth anniversary of this event.  I'm not sure how I feel about vacationing and staying in bungalows where people may have met their deaths.  I guess it is a little bit macabre but ultimately I am still really glad that we went to Khao Lak.  If anything, it may have helped us to enjoy more the tranquility and peace of the waves, the beauty of the ocean, the hot heat of the sun and the powdery softness of the sand.

Michael and I were very satisfied that we stayed at a family run resort, where we felt like our money was directly helping a family rebuild and sustain their livelihood. 

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