Entry 16 OUR TRIP TO PHUKET Part 1

Continued from >>>> Entry 15


We have to fly from San Francisco to LA. We are going coach to LA and that is fine, but we got to the airport so early that we are looking forward to the Star Alliance Lounge. When asking directions we are told sorry, no goodies for you, you're flying coach. So we while away 2 hours just like everyone else waiting for a plane without a ticket full of bells and whistles. We land in LA and find that we have to walk to Tom Bradley International Terminal at least 1 mile away. Walking is difficult for me; bad knee, arthritis in my left foot as well as neuropathy. It is also 11PM. I curse the flight broker and walk faster than I have in 20 years. Rick, a walker of local renown, is amazed at my pace. Nerves and anxiety, I tell him. The flight to Seoul was horrendous. This is not the business class I was raving to Rick about. We don't sleep much at all. The seats don't lie flat and we have 6 inches of foot hanging off the foot rest. It isn't until 5 hours later and very little comfort that we realize we have neglected to pull down the foot rest the entire way. We have a short layover in Seoul and fortunately our connecting flight to Phuket much better. We are now in Business First and it is the longest leg of the flight, 13 hours. We are seated side by side in the middle of the upper front of the plane. The flight attendant says we have empty seats, would I like to sit by the window? Rick asks if he might sit by the window too? The flight attendant replies, "No sir, only your wife." Hahah! This is a joke, of course. We have supremely comfortable seats to contemplate what awaits us on our arrival in Phuket. Beds open up flat and we sleep until it is time to land.

We have booked a hotel in Surin Beach for the first 2 days as we left 2 days early because once again our flight broker fucked up. Our exit through customs and ride to our hotel is uneventful until we get to the hotel. Uh-oh. Not the hotel I thought I had booked. But, we are here, and it is only for 2 days and it is right next door to the Double Tree. Our room has really low ceilings and Rick bangs his head twice going to the bathroom. I tape a plastic bag to the door way as a warning. Oh, and the toilet wouldn't flush. And the shower has no water pressure.

We lay low for 2 days, getting Thai massages, walking to the beach and eating delicious food. We also are the only ones in the pool and with the heat and humidity being what it is, we are delighted to have the pool to ourselves. Although it is a far cry from the Chava Resort, truth be told, I would have stayed in a tent on the side of the road if it meant we could bring Christian home.

The next night we have been invited to Eka's birthday party at a place called The Iguana. I am expecting another beachy nightclub. The cab drops us off on the side of a busy highway with the word Iguana written in green and nailed to a piece of wood on a tree. We are told to continue down to the beach. The climb down is on rock steps about 18 inches high from one another. Rick is holding me and if it were not for the view and what awaits us, I would not have done it. Iguana is in a cove looking out on the bay, surrounded on both sides by massive rocks and palm trees. The rock formation on one side looks exactly like an Iguana, hence the name. The setting sun is dead center. There are Moroccan cushions on the beach and a cantilevered deck with tables and chairs. I order my first of many Mojitos.

We were asked to dress for the party: The women in lace and the men in neon. Rick and I were about the only 2 who did.

Eka arrived and the music began, loud pulsating beats that were the sounds that Josh loved to make. Eka has made a name for herself in Canada before making Phuket her home with her husband Pierre, and she has a strong beautiful voice. I sway to the sounds of the music and think again how I am realizing just how much this music meant to my son.

I was watching one young man DJ'ing and he so reminded me of Josh. The way he wore his head phones, his mannerisms, the way he spun the record. It made me happy and sad at the same time. His set was over and I approached him and asked him if he knew my son. Josh Ezell? He looked me over and said "yes", in a way that sounded like- who wants to know? I told him I was Josh's mom. He threw his arms around me and kept repeating "Wow, oh wow, wow". He told me Josh was one of the first people he had met when he first came to Phuket from Australia. He told me Josh taught him everything he knew about spinning. And then he teared up. He told me my son was one of the kindest people he had ever known and when he heard what had happened he was crushed. I asked him to come to the celebration of Josh's life on Feb. 28, and he asked if he could bring his wife and kids. Of course! Scenarios like this happened all the time. A chance encounter turns into a story about my son. I was amazed and gratified at the kind things everybody said about Joshua.

We were tired and the thought of climbing all those stairs was daunting. I asked Rick to arrange a taxi back for us. The club manager said, "Right away", and so for the next 30 minutes we waited at the side of the road. One thing I learned about the wonderful Thai people; they never say no. So while Rick was telling me the manager said the taxi would be here any minute, I knew it might never arrive. I told Rick I was tired and needed to get back to the hotel and that I was going to hail a tuk-tuk.

Rick thought I had lost my mind. On the side of the busiest street connecting Patong to the rest of Phuket, at midnight, what???

To be continued.....