It had been Christmas 15 years ago, Josh remembered, when the whole family…Bob, Greg, Josh, Doug and I…had been all together at one place at the same time.
So Bob, retired from his pediatric practice in Salem, Oregon and realizing we weren’t getting any younger, rented a resort villa on the island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand where Doug lives part of the year in a rented bungalow with his Thai wife Luk. We chose Thailand because Doug was already there and it was easier than trying to get Luk a tourist visa to any other country.
Josh brought his Cantonese significant other, Polly, from Hong Kong where he lives and works as the Executive Chef at the American Club. (Not that it has anything to do with America!) Greg had taken off a couple weeks of his anesthesiology practice in Las Vegas to meet Josh in Hong Kong and then spend a few days in Hanoi together before flying down to Samui. Bob flew in from Pattaya where golf is his life. In November 2012 I had flown in from Oaxaca Mexico where I live so it was no problem to fly down from Bangkok where I had been sitting in a dental chair for days.
Four whole days together was wonderful but it was just about the right amount of time for resort living. We all had our own villas right on the ocean. Several Thai girls and a cook were at our beck and call. They spread out an elegant breakfast of our choice each morning by the pool. A massage table by the pool was ready for us. Doug and I had rented a pick-up and Josh and Greg rented motorbikes to run around the island. The only decisions we had to make were what to eat the rest of the day.
Sitting there watching the boys in the water I shivered remembering Christmas of 2004 when Doug and Luk almost lost their lives in their bungalow 14 feet from the water when the tsunami hit the Krabi coast. About 8 in the morning Doug heard what he thought was a bomb. Lukily they had the doors and windows closed. When he pulled back the curtains to the sliding doors, the water was engulfing the entire bungalow. When the first wave went out they grabbed their phones and ran up the hill behind the house.
But then Luk wouldn’t live on the Krabi beach anymore. She said there were many ghosts and she wouldn’t eat the fish because she said the fish had eaten the people. So Doug had rented a pickup to move them to Koh Samui on the other side of the Thai peninsula in the Gulf of Thailand. I was in Bangkok at the time and seeing the news on TV I was frantic. But after 30 minutes of trying to get through to them on the phone I heard those sweet sweet voices. A movie about the tsunami is in the theaters now called “Impossible.” I can’t bear to see it.
Anyway, this was the first time any of us had experienced a self-contained resort like this. But as we were all very familiar with Thailand and Thai life, we weren’t sacrificing anything by isolating ourselves. We did remark how sad it is that many people only experience a country in this way though. Our time together ended with “When are we going to do this again?” All of us looking at Bob who footed the bill! LOL