Five minutes after the southern Asia tsunami hit I was just grateful to be alive, period. One hour later I was even more grateful even though all I had left were the clothes I was wearing (just a bathing suit) and although I could see straight through to my knee bone through an open wound. But in the grand scheme of things, that was all minor stuff really.
But it's funny how quickly you forget. I've been alternating between waves of humbleness and gratitude and self-pity, fatigue, and frustration. However in meeting more and more people directly involved in this mass tragedy, I've been moved by their stories of missing people in their party or how they separated from loved ones for 30-48 hours or being stranded hiding in the jungle on the highest hills for nearly two days. So, that last post was more on the whiny side of the pendulum.
I flew to Bangkok today (a necessity as we had to go to the US Embassy in person) via the Royal Thai Air Force. The C-130 was reserved for injured travelers and was about a quarter full of people in stretchers. The Swedish woman next to me had befriended a severely injured Finnish boy whom was traveling alone.
"He says you look just like his father," she said to my boyfriend (who's fine, by the way). He had lost his parents and brother in the tsunami.
Both of us were silent for quite some time after that.
So the fact that I haven't showered in 3 days or slept more than 8 hours in that same timeframe is apt to make me a bit cranky, but is really truly insignificant. (Actually I can be up at my free hotel room - the Thai government has been outstanding with helping foreigners, or farung in Thai - showering right now finally but decided to come up to the business office to blog instead they'd only be open another 30 minutes.)
And I still haven't gone into the entire story as yet as I just haven't had the bandwidth (literally - aside from the 30 minutes now, I've had only about 40 minutes of Internet time in last few days and I put a priority on contacting family, etc.). And until today the physical capacity to write more.
Someone forwarded me the NY Times piece on the tsunami and blogging, but if you were really in thick in the middle of this life-altering, surreal experience I'm not sure you'd be up to reporting it as yet. I managed to retreive my disposable camera (along with my sarong that I tossed into a small bag) when our boat came back to find us hours later and then transported us to the larger boat taking the injured to Phuket Hospital.
I wonder if blogging really is merely journalism (obviously not for me), but just didn't feel right somehow taking pictures of a floating hospital (except for the Asian doctor on his diving holiday voluntarily assisting with minimal supplies on this rescue, there was no medical attention available until about 11 hours after the tsunami hit), the Phuket hospital scene, or the people in stretchers on the C-130. Although that didn't stop the press. They were even hogging the free email terminals for patients at the Phuket hospital so they could dispatch their stories.
I'm going to need a bit more perspective to adequately relate this as I'm still in the middle of this. And I'll try my best, but the office is now closing.