Of course being in Thailand I couldn’t escape without a mandatory elephant ride. The part of Thailand I made home is called Khao Lak. Khao Lak sustained 78% of Thailand’s damage from the tsunami.
During our elephant ride in the hills we stopped at a spot to swim under a waterfall. Our guide told us a story about how at 3am the morning of the tsunami the elephants (the 3 of them) in the elephant camp started screaming. And they screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed… by 6am the local villagers started complaining. When they went to check on the elephants they were
desperately trying to climb up the mountain.
Even though the area is primarily inhabited with tourists it hit me at points in my vacation that probably every single local I was coming in contact with lost at least a friend, a co-worker or family member. Swimming in the ocean we found bits of clothing and random debris.
My friend Rafael, who was my travel companion, is now volunteering to build houses for displaced tsunami victims. Please check out his site and make sure to donate if you can. [Rafael’s site]