One minute I was lying on the bed getting a rubdown and the next thing I knew, I was running barefoot on the streets of Patong and up a hill hand in hand with the husband and a stranger…
We went on our long awaited holiday to Phuket last Saturday in spite of the Tsunami scare that had happened a few days earlier. We hemmed and hawed a bit for a day or two but decided to heck it and went ahead. It was suppose to be a stay in the villa in the hills all day kind of holiday but because of the rain, I had the bright idea of suggesting to the husband that we head to Patong for a look see. As it turned out, it was the worst decision of this holiday.
We were getting our back massages in a random shop when there was a sudden commotion. People were scrambling out of the shop and we followed suit after we hurriedly got dressed. There was a moment of panic when the husband took some time to locate his glasses which had fallen on to the floor. I still remember clearly running through the mall with an eerie feeling at the pit of my stomach. The mall had mostly emptied out as we were the one of the last ones to leave. I kept looking out for signs of a tsunami and was imagining that water would start gushing down the stairs at any time.
When we reached outside, we followed the crowds that were running towards the hills while trying to dodge vehicles which were obviously also trying to find some form of escape. The running didn’t stop till we reached the mid point of a fairly steep hill. Thank goodness for smartphones as we were later able to ascertain that there was no tsunami threat via the Internet but that there had been a quake recorded off the coast of Sumatra. We even called the Singapore embassy to check and they had no clue that there was something going on. The locals however had felt trembles, hence the mass panic.
Although it was kind of a false alarm, I still feel ever grateful to my masseuse, Ms Nom who stayed with us throughout and guided us to safety. The husband’s masseuse had long run away without even caring, which made Nom even more special and wonderful a person. We were the last ones out of the shop but yet she waited for us and made sure we knew where to go and what to do. If there really was an emergency, she basically would have saved our lives that day. When the ordeal was over and when everyone was heading back, she even helped us look for transport back to our hotel.
Needless to say, I was spooked for the rest of the trip to really enjoy it. But I am also truly grateful for this day which allowed me to see so much kindness and selflessness in the face of an ordinary person. The husband was also a real hero that day for staying so calm and collected throughout, making sure we were safe in our distressed state.
So grateful also that we were together when it happened and stayed together throughout the uncertainty. We saw a little Russian girl who got separated from her parents and another worried man looking for his wife among the people at the evacuation site. I really hope they managed to find their loved ones that day.