Thailand is my 'default home' .. I'm actually in indonesia as I write this having just come from 7 weeks there (my 10th time in Thailand in 20 years) and I will return to there in another 3 weeks or so. I was in Thailand about 2 weeks after the tsunami. My strongest personal memory (outside of the media reporting) was of walking by a local police station in Bangkok and seeing that a large wooden wall that stands to one side of the station -- maybe 9 ft. high by 30 long -- had been totally taken over as a sort of impromptu bulletin board and it was COVERED with many HUNDREDS of typed out and hand scribbled notes, two-thirds of them from Western families who had been vacationing and the rest from Thais, all of them DESperate pleas for help in finding ANY word on their husbands, wives, grandparents, children, etc. There was a crowd of silent onlooker/readers and the notes themselves were absolutely heartbreaking. Many of them included pictures -- some just descriptions -- and the ones seeking kids, sometime two or three very young childen who simply *vanished* in an instant, were absolutely impossible to read without coming to tears. No one standing at that wall said a single word to one another. Even those who approached it together drifted apart and could not take their eyes off of what they were seeing and wrapped a natural cloak of isolation around themselves. When they were 'done' they would drift off to the side and sit down and stare silently until their partner joined them, then the two of them would sit in silence. I can't recall ever experiencing such a public place of palpable depth of sadness and horror. Those notes. I am an avid picture taker but I could not even bring myself to 'snap shots' of them. To say that they were raw and desperate does not truly describe them. You could *feel* these notes walking past them at 40 feet away. Their writers were every one of them clearly falling apart as humans -- disemboweled by grief and loss at the height of a dreamlike day in Paradise. Yes, (to answer your question), I sent more money to the tsunami relief funds than I've ever sent to anything before or since.nl
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