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The Ethiopian Spirit - Imported Blog
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Phuket || The Land of Smiles

Beautiful doesn't quite do it justice. I wonder if there are any words to adequately describe Phuket, Thailand (pronounced pu-ket). Paradise, perhaps?

Located in the Andaman Sea of southern Thailand, Phuket's name, according to some sources, is said to be derived from two Thai words, phu (mountain) and ket (jewel). Seeing this beautiful mountain jewel was well worth the 23 hours it took to get there. There are tons of airlines that fly regularly to Thailand, but the best deal I found was with Korean Air. They provided top-notched service (even in economy class).

In 2004, the Indian Ocean earthquake caused a devastating tsunami throughout much of southeast Asia. Phuket has since recovered and has experienced tremendous growth. However, one tour guide confided that because of so much development, the island's natural beauty diminished. Admittedly, as a tourist, I couldn't relate but was very respectful of his concerns. I was drawn in and mesmerized by the aqua blue water, white sand beaches, mountain views, delicious cuisine, and the warm friendly smiles of the Thai people. Seven days was not nearly enough time to take it all in.. but believe me I tried!

Let me say though, nothing can prepare you for the heat. The weather is very, very hot and you will sweat like there's no tomorrow!! We were there in March, the "dry season", when temperatures are "cooler" and sea conditions are good for swimming and diving. (March is also considered high season for tourism which officially ends in April.) If you do make the trip, be sure to pack light loose fitting clothes. You can research the best time of year to plan your trip by visiting sites such as The Phuket Holiday Guide which breaks down the pros and cons for each month of the year.

The Best Memories from 2009

On Where Pianos Roam

For posterity, I wanted to document some of the most memorable moments I experienced in 2009.    There have been some amazingly wonderful times .  .  .

Last January, I was blessed to visit my good friends Leigh and Chris in Seattle.  I stayed for a few days and brought along Oreo and Buttercup.  I ate a HUGE burrito, hung out with a troll, visited Bainbridge Island, visited the grave of Bruce Lee and his son, had a lovely ferry ride, wandered aimlessly through a cubist library, and pretty much took photos of O and B all around the city.  More than anything, I enjoyed spending time with Leigh, Chris, and their beautiful daughter Sophia!  It was the best trip ever.

In February, my sister made a second attempt at teaching me how to knit.  The first time it happened I got really frustrated and tossed it all aside.  For whatever reason, something stuck this time around.  My first project was a beautiful maroon and beige scarf that I still wear to this day.  So far, I've knitted eight scarves, two hats, a bracelet, and half of a throw blanket ever since.  It is such relaxing and rewarding way to pass the time.  I'll be knitting more in the next year.  Here is a photo of the first scarf I ever knitted:

Last February, I visited Atlanta with my friend Chris.  We were mainly there to see an Antony and the Johnsons concert, but we decided to make a whole weekend out of it.  Of course, I took Oreo and Buttercup along.  We visited some fancy malls, and I ate this AMAZING butternut squash dish that I will never forget as long as I live.  It was a really wonderful trip.  My friend Chris was the best host ever!  Here he is being slightly embarrassed having his picture taken with a miniature piano and a rowdy bench:

Simply put, it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to.  This was one band that did not need a bunch of crazy pyrotechnics and theatrics to put on a beautiful show.  They were on tour to support the release of the new album "The Crying Light" and sang most of the songs from it.  There was even a cover of Beyonce's hit song "Crazy In Love".  I sat in the front row in direct sight of Antony playing the piano.  It was so mesmerizing.  After the show, my friend Chris and I got to meet Antony.  He signed a copy of his CD for me, and I gave him a copy of my album "Seahorses".  It was the best concert ever!  For sure, I will see them perform again whenever I possibly can.

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