Bad news keeps coming and coming…How do we handle the risks?

Overall, the neighborhood in which we’re living has newer single family homes.  However, the area contains a number of modest living and working environments such as this we pass on the way to our villa.

It’s hard not to watch the news on TV when we have English speaking news here in Phuket. From terrorism to plane crashes to political hoopla, the negative keeps coming and coming.

One might think it’s easy to isolate ourselves from world affairs while living outside of our home country. But, even without TVs in many countries, we can’t get away from it when we have several news apps on our laptops that keep popping up the latest “horror of the day, week or month.”

One might also think, “shut it off” and live our lives of travel embracing our new surroundings from location to location. However, we weren’t oblivious back “then” (while living in the US) and we aren’t oblivious “now.”

Over the past few years, we’ve lived in close proximity to chickens and crowing roosters. Now, as we prepare today’s post, we can hear roosters crowing, a sound we’ve come to ignore, even while sleeping. The breed of chickens in Thailand is different than we’ve seen in the past.

In other words, one can “run but can’t hide” from the realities facing our world from one corner of the world to another. We won’t get into all the issues here and now. Most of our readers are savvy, not only reading our daily drivel, but also paying close attention to what’s happening in their homeland and throughout the world.  They know. We all know.

Over these past years we’ve raved about Emirates Airlines safety record and yet yesterday they had a frightening crash luckily handled by competent pilots saving the lives of 300 passengers but sadly with the loss of life of one firefighter. Nothing ever stays the same. Do we think twice about traveling on Emirates in the future?

Driving down the dirt road from our villa toward the highway.

Before we lock in any flights we check airline safety records at sites such as this and others.  No matter how often we check and how safe a record may be for any given airline, it only takes one disaster to end the lives of hundreds of passengers.  \There’s no guarantee.

It’s the same with terrorism. No place is exempt from an a devastating occurrence. Sure, many parts of the world aren’t safe at any time. But, those countries, cities, and small towns which may seem safe become just as vulnerable after a single incident. 

Once on the main highway, the roads are good with relatively light traffic during most times of the day.

One cannot predict where that may be although some locations are glaringly obvious at this time, those that we see on the news over and over again as more and more lives are lost. 

Can we avoid visiting those vulnerable locations? We try. Then again, we hear of natural disasters over which no one can predict the devastation often destroying hundreds of lives, families and homes. We have no means of determining where those locations may be.

Many old Thai style buildings line the highway.

Now, living on the island of Phuket, we’re remain aware of the 2004 tsunami, where hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in 14 countries as indicated below from this site:

“The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December with the epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The shock had a moment magnitude of 9.1–9.3 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). The undersea megathrust earthquake was caused when the Indian Plate was subducted by the Burma Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000 people in 14 countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 metres (100 ft) high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.”

Its been a full week since we grocery shopped. As soon as we upload today’s post, we’ll be heading back to this Costco-like store for the next week’s groceries. 

At the time on US and world news, we heard more about the loss of life in Phuket, Thailand which remained in our minds all these years, than we did about the other 13 countries. And yet, in four weeks from today, we head back to Indonesia to live directly on the ocean, a matter of meters from the sea to the veranda, a country that also fell prey to loss of thousands of lives. Do we worry?

We ask ourselves the question, “If we lived in a senior community in seemingly safe Arizona or Florida in the USA where many seniors move to escape cold weather, would we be any safer?” 

Buddhism is the primary religion in Thailand. Many shrines such as this are found at local businesses such as this at a gas station.

The answer is clear. No country, no state, no city and no small town or village in the world is safe. For us, the real question becomes, “Do we allow ourselves to be filled with fear and worry while living amid the most exciting and interesting times of our lives?”

Lots of exposed power lines along the highway in Phuket. We’ve been concerned we’d lose power here and have experienced a few surges but, so far so good.

We can allow the “bad news” orientated media to rule the quality of our lives or, we can chose to find fulfillment and joy within the framework of the lives we’ve chosen for ourselves. We opt for the later.

As we look to the future and the countries we plan to visit, we consider many factors.  Like Life itself, there’s no guarantee. We chose to live in the moment and for now, the moment is looking good. 

May all of your moments look good as well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 4, 2015:

St. Mary’s by the Sea in Port Douglas was originally a Catholic church, is now multi-denominational performing services for a variety religions. For more details, please click here.

Tsunami…A serious fact of life in the Hawaiian Islands…A visit to the Pacific Tsunami Museum…

There are many of these signs in our neighborhood.

Yesterday morning, we decided to make the trip to Hilo to visit the Pacific Tsunami Museum, located in the downtown area across the street from the ocean.
Please click here for the live Hilo Bay webcam from the Pacific Tsunami Museum’s website.

Please click here for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Please click here for a news story on the history of tsunamis in Hawaii.

A map illustrating how the city of Hilo near the bay was wiped out from tsunamis over the years. A notice at the Lyman Museum name at the top of this page, which we also visited in December.

With construction on Highway 130, the only route to Hilo, we’ve had numerous annoying occasions of sitting in single-lane traffic waiting for the line to move along. Yesterday, was the worst yet.

It’s interesting how the Hawaiian Islands often fall prey to a natural phenomenon, including volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tropical storms, and hurricanes.  And yet, the Hawaiian people survive with grace and dignity.

Tom who has a propensity to become “over grumpy” in traffic sat at the wheel frustrated for an entire 70 minutes while we barely moved. At several points, I encouraged him to turn around and go back to Pahoa, forgetting the museum and the quick trips to Target and Safeway.

David Lyman and family, apparently no relation to Tom’s family.

Although he was only moderately grumpy, none of which was directed at me, he decided to stick it out. Our time for sightseeing on the Big Island was coming to a quick end and we wanted to see a few more sights before departing on the 15th.

The text here is readable by zooming in regarding the impact tsunamis had before and after World War II.

Finally, we were on our way once again, determined that the bulk of the cause for the long delay was more a result of gawking than the road actually being blocked.  How annoying. I suppose this plays into our dislike of busy “city-like” environments. 

Prior to visiting Hawaii, we had little knowledge of the number of tsunamis that have impacted life in the islands.

There was little traffic when I was in Hawaii almost 30 years ago, not on any of the islands. It’s a reality of life we’ve encountered in cities; traffic, long lines, unable to find parking spots. I suppose that’s why we so love the more remote locations, even when we can’t find coconut flour at the grocery store.

Of course, we always spot information about railroads based on Tom’s 42 years of working for a railroad.

After relatively quick and painless stops at Target and Safeway, located next door to one another, we were back on the road to easily find the Pacific Tsunami Museum located across the street from Hilo Bay. After searching for a parking spot for 10 minutes we finally found a spot requiring we walk only four blocks to reach the museum.

When we think of tsunamis, we seldom think of Russia as playing a part in their history in Hawaii.

Tom and I both have a certain affinity for quaint topic related museums. They aren’t at all like the larger museums we’ve visited in various parts of the world.  We find ourselves happy to pay the fees to enter, in this case, $7 each for seniors, to supports the efforts of those who often donate their time or work for the minimum wage to support these often one or two-floor history laden environments, dedicated to educating the public.

Tsunami history in Hawaii as a result of an earthquake in Alaska in 1957.

The Pacific Tsunami Museum definitely fits the bill. Located on only one floor with mostly print displays (what paraphernalia could possibly represent a tsunami?) we wandered about, each of us reading at our own pace, as the delightful receptionist followed along for a while, chatting with us after she’d asked, “Where are you from?”

There was an interactive tsunami warning center in the museum explaining how the control center works in the event of a tsunami.

That answer is no longer simply, “Minnesota.” When someone expresses genuine interest, as did this lovely staff member, we chose to say the often expressed, “We’re traveling the world.”  Some express awe and wonder and others shrug and say, “Cool.” In either case, if the inquirer asks more questions, we happily answer. If not, we’re on our way.

The locks to the vault of the door to the “Vault Theatre” in the museum, a former bank.

She was fascinated and I couldn’t help but dig out one of our business cards from my wallet handing it to her in the event she wanted to kill some time reading our posts while quietly waiting for the next patron to arrive at the cozy museum.

The street-side view of the museum, as mentioned, a former bank across from Hilo Bay.

In any case, the museum was fascinating especially when she escorted us to the “vault,” a former bank vault (we were in a former bank, after all) which had been made into a rather adequate movie theatre where she started a tsunami history movie made in 1999 that we actually found interesting and worthwhile.

A side street view of the Pacific Tsunami Museum.

We’d intended to write all about tsunamis here today but instead are providing a few links that can tell it more efficiently than I who’s anxious to get outside to whale watch shortly. We purchased a lightweight tripod at Target yesterday for $15.99 and I can’t wait to use it. We purchased this lower-priced unit in the event we have to give it the heave-ho down the road. For now, it will do the trick.

As we stood near the shore of Hilo Bay, we captured this view of snow-covered Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world at a reported 33,476 feet above the ocean floor.

Today, we’ll write a positive review on TripAdvisor on our visit to the Pacific Tsunami Museum in an effort to add to the support of these local museums dedicated to informing the public.

Jack London’s visit to the islands was highlighted at the museum.

On our return drive, the traffic was considerably quicker than the outbound trip. During the lengthy outbound trip, we made a decision to stay in a hotel in Hilo on the night of the 14th before our flight to Kauai the next day.  With a morning flight planned, we chose not to risk missing our flight or feeling stressed waiting for another hour or more in traffic on the only route out of Pahoa to Hilo.

This sweet photo at the museum caught my eye.

We booked one of the few hotels nearest the airport. We always attempt to remember our motto, “Wafting Through Our World Wide Travels with Ease, Joy and Simplicity.” An overnight in Hilo ensures a stress-free experience once again. We’ll manage the traffic the prior day, arriving at the hotel with all of that behind us, enjoying a dinner out in Hilo, and a relaxing night’s sleep.

History of tsunamis in both 1922 and 1923.

As a result, we’ll be leaving the birdhouse in six days, leaving the Big Island on the 15th. In the interim, we’ll certainly take advantage of each of our remaining days, returning to our daily philosophy of doing exactly that which appeals to us the most, whether its more sightseeing, whale watching, future planning (which Tom is thoroughly engrossed in at the moment) or lounging in a chair on a sunny day.

Life is good. 

                                              Photo from one year ago today, January 8, 2014:

Piet and Hettie, friends we made in South Africa, invited us to lunch to celebrate their birthdays, a short time apart. We so enjoyed meeting them and appreciated how quickly they included us in their lives.  That’s the nature of South Africans, warms, and friendly. For details from that date, please click here.