Tsunami

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Phuket is beautiful. I can tell it was more beautiful before the tragedy this spring…..but it’s still beautiful. We went to the beach yesterday for hours. The waves were pretty good…powerfull and persistant. The water is as warm as the air.

As we walked up to the beach…it appeared there was seaweed along the waters edge…much like at home. But there is no seaweed here. When we got closer we saw that it was actually clothing and other household items washing ashore. We were having fun in the water, but getting a coat hanger stuck in my toes and bumping into a floating ink cartridge was a stark reminder of what happened…and how many people died. As I stared out into the waves and then looked behind me at the new field, where the many small huts had been, the fear people must have felt crept up on me more than a couple times. The remaining evidence shows the massiveness of the Tsunami. Things too high to reach, and blocks from the beach, were smashed from by wall of water.

This morning we took a boat to PhiPhi sland. First we snorkeled on the coral reefs. They were beautiful and we saw tons of bright tropoical fish. I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie Finding Nemo. Next we went ashore and were fed a great lunch at a local restuarant.

After eating eric and I set out to fill our two hours of sightseeing with photography. We went along the shore and took pictures of the small amount of damage that remained. We thought we’de seen it all. We were impressed with how much clean up had been done, so we headed away from the beach to find a set of stairs that suppossedly lead up the mountain for some good scenic shots. PhiPhi is two giant mountains with a smal strip of flat land between them. That’s what’s built up..the flat part. There are bays on both sides.

As we walked away from the beach…I noticed the destruction was getting worse…not less. Finally, we came to the last block and it became apparent what we were seeing. The Tsunami had come from the other side…we had only been seeing the back of the island.

Total destruction. It looked like a war zone. Palm trees uprooted. Entire buildings gutted. Cement foundations torn apart. Piles of trash everywhere. Nobody standing where I was standing this afternoon could have lived through what happened. It was a place where many people stood. There were hotels and park beyond the beach. It was quite. All you could hear today were the waves and the sound of people working, not talking.

Just beyond the tattered and trash covered park was a Thai man sitting on the empty beach with a rown of about 10 chairs and umbrellas. He had a cooler full of drinks and a sign saying he was open for business. It didn’t look like he’d had a customer or would for some time…so i bought a drink and a smile from him.

I felt guilty for doing only that, while there was so much more to do. I felt guilty taking pictures instead of swinging a hammer. But mostly…I felt the pain that somehow lingered in the air. Maybe it happened too fast and more people needed to feel it.

On the 90 minute ride back to Phuket, I thoguht about life, the people i love, what my future holds and whats important to me. The reality that tragedy is man’s best reason to live burns brightly today. I hope it reaches you somehow.

One Thought on “Tsunami”

  1. dominic Says:

    sitting here at work reading about you and mr. eric’s adventures. hope all is well, sounds it. cant wait to see pictures.

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