I feel justified in my infatuation with Thailand. It is truly a tropical utopia, with its dense, verdant jungles, peerless beaches and exotic cuisine. How could it not be in the ranks for one of my most treasured places? When I reminisce on the experiences Thailand gifted me- the Bangkok tailors, the exquisite cooking lessons in Chang Mai and, of course, the peaceful relaxation I found in Phuket- it serves as a reminder that I am blessed and highly favored.
My husband, Colin, and I had originally planned to explore Thailand with friends in late December; however, in early November they informed us that they weren’t going to be accompanying us. On a whim, we switched our travel dates around and before we knew it we were spending Thanksgiving in Thailand.
My first rendezvous with Thailand exceeded every expectation I had. There was never a dull moment. We bargain shopped in the kaleidoscopic local markets, bought distinct artwork for our personal collection, had beautiful garments hand tailored and visited the breathtaking temples scattered across the area. All of Thailand welcomed us with excitement, warmth and splendor. Colin and I took an elephant tour though the mountains; were transformed into the next Top Chefs at the local Culinary School and bore witness to the enthralling Loi Kathrong Festival. Just when I thought our time in Thailand had reached its peak, there stood the Sheraton Laguna Phuket. A majestic resort where the only way to reach our two-story suite, with its own dock, was by gondola.
During our travels through Thailand, we unearthed a myriad of culture and whole-heartedly bonded with the country and its people. That is why when we heard of the tragedy that occurred December 29th- the original day we would have spent in Phuket- we were overcome with sorrow. An earthquake that occurred off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia triggered the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunamis killing over 230,000 people in fourteen different countries- Thailand included. We were extremely fortunate that when this cataclysm took place we were safe in our home in Los Angeles. In this instance my husband and I’s impulsiveness may have saved our lives and it serves as, yet another, reminder that I am blessed and highly favored.