So this is our last day on the island of Phuket. Where have two weeks gone, and so fast? An amazing trip, amazing people, strange sights and sounds and smells, Crazy but organised chaotic driving and a full-on sensory overload. Tomorrow we will be heading to the airport and on our way back to beautiful Wellington. Before we leave though I have two little stories to share.
I have just returned from a trip to fill our rental car with petrol. Along the way, I was stopped by a Thai Army and Police checkpoint. I must admit I was a little nervous however as I pulled up the soldier saw my Avis sticker on the front of the windscreen, smiled and waved his finger. This is so not what I had read before coming here however I was very pleased indeed. I drove on rather happily.
Arriving at the petrol station, the young man who served me, put in my petrol, asked me where I came from. I said New Zealand and was about to start explaining the islands off the coast of Australia when his eyes lit up and said ‘oh you have the ice mountains!’ I smiled and said yes, yes we do at which point he said ‘Lord of the Rings.’ Well, I must admit it makes a change not to have the All Blacks shoved in my face once again, so I proudly said ‘yes, Lord of the Rings’ he was so excited it was cool moment indeed.
On another level, this trip has been rather poignant for me. Every day we have traveled we have had no choice but to drive past local rubber plantations. Tall, straight trees planted in rows, giving dark covered shade, with small gathering bowls hanging off the side of each tree. Every day as I looked into those plantations I could not help but think of my Father. At the age of 18, he fought in the Malayan Emergency, a little-known police action to stop the communist Chinese coming down and taking over Malaya. It was in a rubber plantation; I guess very similar to the ones I have seen that he was ambushed and shot in the leg from ricochet shrapnel that killed the young soldier walking in front of him.
As I looked into those plantations, I could not help but think what that would have been like, miles from home, in the heat of the jungle. Sadly, in some areas of the planet, we have come no further but looking through the local plantations I can see the traffic and the everyday life of Thailand. A fantastic place, warm, friendly and full of the hustle and bustle. It has been great meeting you, and I hope we meet again someday.