Sunday, March 05, 2006

"Phi Phi perseverance"

(pronounced "Pee Pee") I am back in the south of Thailand again near the beautiful warm waters that I have not seen for over a month. It has been wonderful to be greeted by such balmy peaceful waters- again, I am reminded how much happier I am when I am near/in ocean water. Must be the Greek/Brazilian spirit in me..

Today I took a 2 hour ferry ride to Phi Phi Island. Many of you probably saw this island over and over again in the news last year during the tsunami as it was one of the hardest hit areas- mainly, because it has such a high tourist population and the island is so thin and unprotected from big waves.

I felt I needed to return here to see for myself what Mother Nature truly did to this island. I think one never gets the "real" picture from TV and news. As I approached the bay, there was a mixture of tears and joy as I approach. Tears for the fact that the devastation was obvious. Rows of bungalows that I remembered seeing 5 years ago were just completely gone. GONE. Nothing there but a few sparse trees with yellow ribbons tied around them.

But I have mostly felt joy being here as the perserverance of these peoples' spirit really prevails the island. I laughed today as I swam and heard a loud drill and some hammering in the background. Normally, (as many of you know), I would have become a bit irritated (okay, a lot irritated) that these man-made sounds were interrupting my afternoon swim. But wonderfully enough, I smiled for quite a long time, as I knew those sounds to be representative of "going on"- a sound of people not giving up and rebuilding, both their spirits and the homes/hotels around them.

I also found the waters to be amazingly welcoming here. I was a bit afraid that I would feel frightened or affected by being in the same waters that took so many lives away. However,wonbderfully enough, I just felt very calm and at peace when I went in. It was actually very difficult for me to get out of the ocean here, as I felt I was being cradled in a warm bath by a very loving spirit.

I have also been visited by my freind Andrew from Miami. He has been working in New Orleans with the reconstruction of THE hurricane. He has been operating a roofing company there and hadn't had a day off for 8 months so I suggested he come out for a week to get some rest. It has been interesting to hear his perspective of the reconstruction here after having spent so much time in New Orleans. And yes, he is getting rest at last. We even enjoyed a nice elephant ride yesterday in Phuket- always a fun experience and a reminder of how mighty yet graceful these creatures are.

I am off tomorrow to Aonang/Railay Beach, another spectacularly beautiful place that I visited 5 years ago. It felt like a dream when I was last there so I am very excited to have a chance to return to this magical place for a few days. I will, of course, send pics as soon as I can !

I hope this message finds you well. My journey here ends in about a month. It is hard to believe the end is already near. Yet I feel there is much more adventure ahead of me. I do look forward to getting home to my own bed again, kissing my cat and having her wait for me when I get home, hugging my Dad, talking to freinds and family and seeing them in person, playing the piano, eating a good Greek meal again, shopping at my favorite health food store, and just not having to live out of a small suitcase and zip loc bags for awhile.

I will see you soon.

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