Trip Start Oct 20, 2004
44Trip End Apr 26, 2005
Monday night was our last night in Phuket; we had showered and packed in anticipation of our early morning departure for Chiang Mai. Andy was downstairs chatting with our friends and I had retired for the night and was reading in bed, upstairs. Though deeply immersed in my book, I could have sworn that I felt the bed swaying back and forth. I sat up, wondering if my mind was playing tricks on me. Quickly concluding that it was, I settled back into my book. Moments later, distracted by the continuous swaying, I sat up again, turned around, and tried to shake the backboard of the bed; however, I was unable to budge the sturdy frame. The entire bed swayed for another full minute or so, lightly yet significantly, (not due to my brute strength) and I dismissed it until the swaying finally ceased. Confused yet certain that I had imagined the entire strange episode, I slipped back into my world of fiction before dozing off.
I didn't hear Andy come to bed, but an hour or so later our mobile phone began to ring. We ignored it. It rang a second time. We ignored it again. Finally, unable to ignore the annoying jingle any longer, Andy jumped out of bed to answer the call. It was our friend in Singapore calling to inform us of the 8.7 earthquake off Indonesia, and to make sure that we were safe. Grateful for her concern, we immediately phoned to check on our Sri Lankan friends. Following several attempts in the course of an hour or two (lines were tied) we learned that people in Sri Lanka were in a panic, and that evacuations were underway around the coast. For those bordering the Indian Ocean, the earthquake was a very real reminder of what could have happened - or rather, what did happen just a few months ago. Unfortunately, the people of Nias (Northern Sumatra) failed to escape this disaster, adding over a thousand casualties to their already staggering toll.
The earthquake experience brought home what was already on the forefront of my mind, and I was glad to soon be trading the beach for the mountains. We fortunately managed to get a bit of sleep before heading to Northern Thailand in the morning.