In a few weeks, it will be 10 years since the 2004 tsunami battered parts of Thailand along with many other coastal communities.
Being in Thailand when the tsunami happened prompted a series of life changes within the following year. Quitting my job, moving to Thailand to volunteer and then to Japan to work happened because of December 2004.
This is the beginning of my mini commemoration of that time.
Our flight to Thailand from Canada was delayed so long we missed our connection in Beijing. Frustration from the delay was easily countered with an unexpected and surreal stopover in Beijing.
The first snow of the season stared at us the next morning. Pulling on every precious layer of summer clothing that could possibly insulate and hoping for the best, we caught a rickety taxi to Tiananmen Square.
We made it! After our China detour, we landed in Bangkok and then Phuket.
The first stop was the beach. Lazing back into a chair and staring up at the umbrellas was sublime and unbelievable.
The previous two days included whizzing through a fraction of the Forbidden City in the snow and leaving deep winter in Canada. Was this a time machine?
After a couple of nights in Phuket, we took a boat to the Phi Phi Islands. Our destination was Phi Phi Don where we planned to spend Christmas and maybe a few extra days.
Sweating buckets and trying not to obviously stick to the plastic chair, I ordered my first meal in Phi Phi – basil chicken stir fry. Little did I know that a complementary version of the overwhelming heat and humidity surrounding me would soon land in my mouth.
Have you been to Thailand? I’d love to hear your experiences.