Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Phuket: Day 15

Never too far...
Our last morning in paradise. This time Chaiya and her puppy were much more bold, waking us up before sunrise, even scratching at the mosquito netting. As I set in the hammock hanging on the deck outside our tent, I loved the soft warm feeling of a happy dog resting against me, content to be pet. Soon enough the dogs took off to play, romping down the hillside. Chaiya was always intent on training her pup with the help of some roughhousing and an occasional disciplinary nip. Later we hiked into the jungle for a while, Chaiya allowing the puppy to take her first excursion beyond the resort.

Our home away from everything for three days
It had rained overnight, and we got another brief downpour in the morning. The heat dissipated so quickly that we had to turn off the fan. Watching the water drops fall from palm fronds, the weather was absolutely and delightfully cool. The clouds parted and we settled into our routine, starting with another homemade breakfast -- Jenny devouring banana pancakes; I stuck with my favorite option of watermelon and pineapple, along with some tea and lemon grass water. We made arrangements for a longtail to pick us up in the early evening, and the owner assured us we could spend the day at the resort without the hassle of clearing our room.

View through the mosquito netting
He was amazed at our patience for the travel that lay before us: a flight from Phuket to Bangkok, a longer flight to Seoul South Korea, a long layover and then the final marathon flight to San Francisco (and accompanying one and a half hour drive home). Thinking about the journey ahead, and all the attendant hassles of carrying bags that bulged with new clothes and souvenirs, dealing with customs, immigration, and security details, and the long periods of jostling boredom in cramped airplane seats, I had to shake my head. Getting home from here would indeed be monumental undertaking. So I just pushed all that stuff out of my mind, happy instead to hang from a hammock overlooking a bay under billowing clouds.

Chaiya says goodbye
For some reason it took me almost months to complete this story. Usually I need just a few days, but a crush of work duties and other obligations got in the way. For a while I wondered if I'd ever share these notes. Yet Jenny and I regularly recall our happy times in China and Thailand. Places that were once abstract have become real to us, and now we often draw from those memories to liven up a story or make a point. You know, "It was like that first day at the world's fair," or "Hey, you rode a Bangkok tuk-tuk, you can handle anything!" I guess that's one gift of travel: it's a life-thickener, and I'm so glad we added China and Thailand to our lives. Already I envision many return visits.

There's so much more to see!

Day 14 | Start Over

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