The island near Krabi called Ko Klang is 95 percent Muslim and has a population of 5000. There are no cars, dogs or alcohol allowed on this island. We took a moped that had a cart on the side for a tour. We passed people harvesting rice in a rice paddy. We visited a batik shop where the women showed us how they dye, wax and use floral prints to decorate fabric. It was interesting but we were too hot to partake in arts and crafts so we supported the community by purchasing sarongs for $4 each. We then visited a local boat craftsman who proudly showed us his awards and his method for making model Thai long boats.
We passed palm trees used to make palm oil and rubber trees harvesting liquid rubber. These are 2 exports from Thailand. Back on our long boat we took a tour of the mangrove forest and were happy to see gray monkeys along the shore.
We checked into the Deevana hotel in Krabi and were ecstatic by the lush accommodations. After a bite to eat we explored the area and on the way back I detoured for another massage. For dinner we tried a Vietnamese restaurant which was very good. An early night led to an early breakfast. My two travel buddies opted to enjoy the serene pool and local spas while I decided to end the trip in the fashion I started; with a solo adventure.
I walked down the street and purchased a 200 baht ($6) round trip ticket to the island Rai Lay. Soon a white pick up truck driver told me to get in the back and 9 of us drove to a canal outside of town to catch a long boat to the island.
The 4-6 foot swells instantly reminded me of the movie scene from the Finest Hour which I had watched on the flight here, especially the part where the small coast guard boat doves through the waves. I was hopeful our wooden boat wouldn’t have to do that. We arrived safely and I had fun exploring the different beaches and caves. I watched some people rock climb and enjoyed a swim in the sea. I felt very brave as I walked toward the water in my bikini but honestly no one gave me a glance. The water was warm and salty and felt so good around my middle.
I dried off laying on a towel in the warm sun and soft breeze then suddenly felt the rain. It’s monsoon season here so when it starts, you gotta run. I had some lunch and wandered back to where the boats had dropped me off. The rain had stopped but the waves were definitely bigger on the way back and we all got wet.
My transfer back to town was nonexistent so I shared a scooter taxi back with 2 young hostel kids. One was from Russia and one from Vietnam. I made it back to the hotel in time for a swim and happy hour before a sunset farewell dinner with my travel buddies and our tour guide.
I packed my suitcase and prepared for my 3 flights home tomorrow. Thinking back on this adventure filled trip I know I have stepped out of my comfort zone and filled my life with some awesome memories. I had some real moments of joy and wonder and faced a few challenges that I successfully navigated so I’m feeling pretty good about that. However, as I sit here on a beach,on an island in the middle of the Adaman Sea you must admit I have run away about as far as I can go.
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of Mike’s death and I guess I really can’t escape that date. This year has had many difficult moments but the hardest part is acknowledging that he is really gone and no matter how much I think about how it shouldn’t have happened, and how I could have changed the events of that evening, it did happen and I will never be able to recreate that night. All I can try to do is manage my thoughts because that is the only thing I do have control over.
So when I get sad about the loss of my husband, I will let myself feel sad and then redirect my thoughts to some of my favorite memories with him. And I can count my blessings because I am a very fortunate person.
I’ve been tossing around what I want to do in memory of Mike. I think I will continue to celebrate his life on his birthday, the 4th of July, with fireworks and one of his favorite desserts: an ice cream sundae. At his funeral I asked people in lieu of flowers to make donations to the American Heart Association. I was overwhelmed at the generosity of so many people who made donations in his name.
After my time in Thailand I was really touched by the elephant rescue centers. However, when I read that it is estimated that 800,000 children are being exploited here in sex trade I started to research organizations that help rescue children. I found one called Destiny Rescue that uses funding to rescue girls and help train them for jobs outside a life of prostitution. This year I will make a donation in Mike’s name for destinyrescue.org and invite my readers to make a donation as well. Thank you for joining me on this widow adventure and I hope to make running away to cool places a new habit for me!