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Luk’s Family In Trang

Monday, January 24th, 2005



We rented an SUV and drove to Trang, about 150 kilometers south of Krabi, to meet Luk’s immediate and extended family. We were greeted with the traditional Thai wai greeting with head bowed and hands folded…a greeting that feels so incredibly respectful. Grandfather is 81 and lives at home with Luk’s graceful grandmother who is 72.

Before a visit to the market with Luk’s mother we stopped by a fish farm to buy fresh fish for dinner. Luk’s mother, a professional cook, prepared a half a dozen dishes for us and for various cousins and uncles who appeared on the scene throughout the evening.

Luk’s mom lives out in the countryside with a woman friend. Luk’s brother is 19 and works in a grocery store. One of Luk’s cousins has been a surgical nurse for four years in the Trang Hospital…her boyfriend works for the police department. Another cousin is in the army and works as a dive master on the side. We struggled to communicate…but we all laughed together at Luk’s mom’s tiny Laborador puppy who was terrorizing Luk’s 8 month old Shimazu! On the way to the car after dinner Luk’s mother and I walk hand in hand. We are family now.

Ao Nang Beach Krabi Thailand

Sunday, January 23rd, 2005


Bob and I have been here in Krabi Province of Thailand with Doug and Luk for three weeks now…a welcome respite after a month in smoggy noisy Bangkok where I had some dental work done and a 6 month routine check-up at Bumrungrad Hospital.

Bob left a couple days ago to do some hiking in Khao Sok National Park up north. I stayed here in my little 2nd story bungalow on lazy Ao Nang Beach watching the dark wiry young boat guys guide their long tailed boats to various karst islands and isolated beaches out in the deceivingly placid blue and green ocean and return again. Bob and I will either meet up in Bangkok or he will return here first…who knows what he will do. The breeze cools down at night until about noon…then air conditioning goes back on again.

Doug and Luk come over every morning (my place is 10 minutes up the road from their house) and we breakfast together. Then we all pile on the motorbike for a ride through the karsts and banana tree forests looking for a little fantasy house for me to rent…can get a house with tile floors, bathroom, hot water, kitchen facilities and bedroom and main room for about $200 a month if you are not on the water. A bottom floor bungalow on the water like Doug had before the tsunami is about $450 a month.

Weird to see inaugural celebrations on Fox News and then to drive by the Krabi Wat with hundreds of pictures of victims and piles of burial boxes.

An internet friend of mine who just married a Thai girl is staying on Patang Beach on Phuket Island where most of the damage was done. He said the beaches have been cleaned up…chairs and umbrellas are back up and the local businesses are begging for tourists. Reconstruction has already begun on some of the lost and damaged hotels. The second worst place in Thailand to get hit was Khoa Lak…just up north from here. They are still finding bodies in the Mangrove Forests and the village water well ended up with a car and 92 bodies in it. Several thousand bodies have not been found yet, many of them illegal immigrants from Burma. We hear they will not even try to rebuild at Khao Lak.