We drove to Kahao Lak to get in some good snorkeling in the offshore islands, and it was spectacular! Khao Lak is an area due north of the island of Phuket.
The day we arrived the staff at the hotel suggested we go to the open market. Two things happened there. We found good luck lanterns we could purchase and bought one. Also, we found this tiny bar with an interesting Irishman named Morgan Mooney singing songs he wrote. We had a great time getting to know Morgan and the other people in the bar.
That night we had a delightful dinner on a beach with our bare feet in the still warm sand, looking out over the sea below the full moon. Before dessert we set off the balloon with a special wish.
The lantern itself is pretty interesting. It was a cylinder about 5′ high and 2′ in diameter. A donut shapped piece of firestarter was suspended by wire at the bottom. We unfolded it, lit the fire-starter, and waited a minute or two until the baloon achieved negative gravity and simply lifted itself out of our hands. Since the Thais consider these to be good luck balloons, our special wish was that our friends Gina, Paul and Michaela would have the good fortune to be reunited with their son/brother, Jackson.
Khao Lak and theTsunami
This area was also hit pretty hard. You don’t hear people talk about it. Mostly you just see the tsunami evacuation signs like the ones we have in California. There is a tsunami memorial in the town which has many photos of the disaster. A very substantial police boat which was washed inland 2 kilometers by the wave gives you a gut feel for the magnitude of the forces.