Wednesday, February 24, 2010
We started at an overlook that let us see down the rugged coastline ravaged by the great tsunami that did horrendous damage to Phuket. Our guide recounted his own personal experiences. He was supposed to pick up tourists from resorts that were totally destroyed and he arrived after the second of three waves. There are now warning systems in place to let people know when a tsunami is coming. However nothing can save folks from their own folly. Our guide said that the first wave was fairly small and left fish flapping all over as it receded. Both camera-toting tourists and local folks collecting fish went far out onto the ocean floor, where the water had pulled back, and were caught in the next wave that was the BIG one. His stories were very sobering. The coastline has many high places but the resorts are all located on the lovely white sand beaches next to the ocean.
Our guide said he can never forget all of the dead bodies piled up in swimming pools.
We continued on up the coastline to another high point: an elephant shrine in active use. Folks come here to make offerings asking for good luck. When their prayers are answered, they return and leave an image of an elephant. There are big and small images, hundreds of them, that folks have left--and the scenery was beautiful on this high point.
View from the elephant shrine.
Elephant images were everywhere.
Next, we went to a temple and crematorium complex--this one dedicated to three very revered monks. As always, the temple complex had marvelous art works, architecture and Buddhas.
This is probably my last temple visit, which makes me sad--but I also am getting excited to get home again!
Gorgeous lotus blossoms in full bloom flanked the three monks so I couldn't resist a close up.
A stop at a cashew factory was also on the tour. Cashews are one of the most difficult, labor-intensive nuts to produce because each one must be hand-shelled and the fruits they come from are tough to grow.
Women shelling cashew nuts.
Cashew fruit and nuts waiting to be liberated from their shells.
We swung through Phuket Town that looked a lot like Trang and has few tourists. The tourist spots are all along the coastlines. I was happy to get back to Cape Panwa, which has only a few resorts and a sleepy seaside village. My hotel is charming and built into a hillside. (Lots of stairs!) The first room I had was for smokers and lacked the balcony I thought I was getting, but today they moved me to a new room--with balcony and even an ocean view! (But not as good as my own view at home.)
Sunset in front of my hotel.
Posted by KK at 5:20 AM