You must think I am crazy to spend the last days of my trip to Asia in Phuket. Those "friends" of ours who planned to join me cancelled their plans at the last minute. Frankly, I am better off without them and having the time of my life.

Life goes on here and Phuket has recovered with astonishing speed after so much sadness. To tell you the truth, only about 5% of the island suffered any damage from the tsunami. (We were all traumatized by this event whether we were there or not.) The hotel where I am staying in Patong was nowhere close to the waves. Most hotels were not. All of the after-dark places never missed a beat. The music in Paradise Complex is still throbbing even though the hotels are practically empty.

I have spent the past three mornings basking in the delicious sun and tropical breeze on Patong Beach. Everything that was built on the sandy side of the beach in the last twenty years is gone and I have to admit that the beach has never looked so glorious. I read in the newspaper today that the Thai government wants to keep it that way. I also read that a lot of people are losing their jobs here because the tourists stopped coming. :-( I feel terribly sad about that.

Honestly, if you don't jump on a plane right now and enjoy this sensual sunshine you are missing a terrific holiday. The weather could not be better, the people could not be friendlier, and the food could not be more delicious. Please turn off your TV (look what it is doing to you) and join me here in the real world. You might actually enjoy yourself for a change!

Love, Babs

The photo above was taken on 1 January 2005 -- five days after the tsunami -- at Patong Beach, Phuket

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Many thanks to Jon Blomberg, Jim Corti and Allen B, for these photos, which are used with permission and are protected by copyright