Mrs Stoner and I were in Thailand on our honeymoon 5 years ago. On boxing day morning we went for a swim in the sea at our resort in Khao Lak before breakfast.
At breakfast on the spur of the moment we decided we would check out and move on to explore somewhere else. We packed our bags and paid our bill then wandered up to the main road a little after 9am. We had no idea when the next bus was due but one turned up before long and we got on heading for Trang on the other side of the country. The road took us up over the headland and away from the coast. The wave hit Khao Lak shortly after 10am and destroyed it. It was one of the worst hit areas and many families died - predominantly Scandinavian and German. Our resort was wiped out and I found out later that almost everyone there died. There were a number of young families there and I still think of them.
We didnt realise what had happened until we got off the bus hours later and watch the BBC World channel news in a bar in Trang.
We decided then to head back to Bangkok and think about heading home. In Bangkok we read in the English language papers that the Red Cross were desperate for European blood donations. They were massively understocked of blood group types with much higher incidences in white European populations than in the far east. Luckily Mrs S is loaded with super blood O- so her donation was of great value.
We've still got a folder of clippings from newspapers but havent look at it since 2005. We dont really think about it much, but when it comes round in the news now and then I always think of those families at Khao Lak.