This Boxing Day will mark the 12th anniversary of the horrific tsunami of 2004.
Having been so removed from it Canada, it was quite revealing to visit Khao Lak, one of the Thai cities that was particularly badly hit. Our hotel was just a block away from what is now the Tsunami Memorial Park.
It is about 2 km from the beach, and at the end of the square is a large police boat that got pushed there by the wave. It has been left there as a reminder of the force of the tsunami. It is mind boggling.
There are also not two but three Tsunami Museums, which are little storefronts where locals have collected newspaper articles, memorabilia and stories. (Look behind the ambulance in the above photo for the orange banner of one). A new form of tourist business.
Seeing the police boat where it ended up helps understand some of the magnitude of the disaster. The resorts that were along the beach all got wiped out. Flattened. And this went on for 2 kilometres inland. Our hotel (which wasn't a hotel at the time) was flooded up to the second floor.
In Thailand, over 5000 people died. However, when we spoke with the locals they said there were probably way more casualties because of undocumented migrant workers from Myanmar. We did not know this, but apparently the Thai do not work in the service industry much, unless they are the entrepreneurs. The people working at resorts, hotels, and even the Horse Club where Lili took lessons are mostly Burmese. And many of them are undocumented so no one really knows how many went missing.
The Tsunami was an event that changed so much and so many lives. People talk in terms of before and after the Tsunami. Much has been rebuilt now, and life goes on.