Sunday, March 12, 2006
Hello again..I am here on the island of Koh Lanta, a 2 hour ferry ride from Koh Phi Phi. I have been welcomed by amazingly freindly people where I am staying at...this, of all places in Thailand, truly feels like home for me.I wish I could explain to you all how wonderful it is here....Most of the island is populated by Muslims and northern European tourists...this makes for a wonderfully colorful combination of people....everyone smiles and waves to me everywhere I go...it is amazing....I have never felt as happy and relaxed (and safe !) as I do here.
The other night I went to a local festival where I swear the entire island had come to ( all 7,000 people....) and every single person who walked by me that night (including very young children ) gave me a big smile and/or hello.....the warmth of the local people just really permeates the air here. So much of our news is filled with such terrible commments about a few extremists from the Muslim world . I so wish more people could understand that the majority of these people are truly kind and peaceful. I have been blown away by the love they have shown me.
I am staying in a wonderful bungalow (for 10$/nite) a few meters from the ocean. I have bought my own hammock and have it on my balcony, where I spend much of my afternoons reading, doing work, and just watching the ocean. There is a small outdoor private shower and toilet and I am blessed with air conditioning as well- a true luxury here as the average temperatures are in the mid to high 90's.....I jump into the ocean often throughout the day......another great luxury.
The Swedes rule here, it seems...There is a large group of Swedish students, teachers, and families staying where I am. They are all going to a nearby school this semester as a cultural exchange program. I have been befriended already by one very special Swedish family here- we are already discussing plans on where we will meet next !. They even met me at the ferry boat when I first arrived on the island(based on a phone call from another travelling friend) and took me to the hotel - they didn't even know who I was but just out of the kindess of their hearts, they rode 20 minutes on their motorbikes to come get me, with luggage and all......Once again, I feel so blessed to have made such good friends so quickly.
Downloading pictures is slow, tedious, and a bit more expensive here so I will try to send photos when I find a quick connection. I really want to try and share with you the beauty of where I am staying....I think a few pictures will help.
p.s. I read on Yahoo (!!) today that Thailand was preparing for evacuations yesterday because of an earthquake 500 km from where I am....I didnt even know about this until today ! I guess the evacuation plans were eventually called off. Just wanted to let you know I am okay, in case you did read this in the news. I know how sometimes "news" gets a bit blown out of proportion in other parts of the world.
I am really happy here and already know it is going to be very hard to leave here. I feel like I have a wonderful village where I am safe and supported by everyone around me. It is a wonderful feeling. I think I may just stay here for the remainder of my time in Thailand. I feel at peace here and dont have the desire to move much anymore.
I hope you are well.
hugs from the south of Thailand.