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Old 02-11-2005, 12:21 PM   #1
Oedipus Tex
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Oedipus Tex is on a distinguished roadOedipus Tex is on a distinguished road
So I'm minding my own business in Thailand...

...literally, when all hell breaks loose.

Alright, before the story, I want to thank you for the kind words of support here on the Planet. It sounds silly, but it mattered.

Anyway, I was courting a big client in Thailand, a shrimp producer who wants to expand and reorganize his exports to the United States. Some of you may know that there is a fairly new U.S.-Thailand Free Trade Agreement, and I'm using that as an opportunity to court new clients.

Anyway, the business is run out of Bankok, but the docks and boats are centered in Phuket. I went there to meet with some of the muckity mucks in the company on Christmas Eve, still pretty jetlagged.

Phuket was a really neat place, by the way.

Anyway, I was having some coffee on the deck of my hotel, which had a beautiful view of the beach and water, when I felt the earthquake. A solid one that shook the building quite a bit. I spilled my coffee on myself and realized I'd have to change before my 10 am meeting. I remember thinking that this was a sh!tty start to a day...

But I made a mental note to tell G/F about it when I called that night to tell her how things were going. I'm getting changed into suit #2 when ANOTHER earthquake hits, not as powerful but still a shaker.

So I'm a little shaken up (no pun intended) but my files and presentation is fine, and I'm ready to roll. I leave my hotel at about quarter of, and head off to the docks to meet my clients - we're supposed to look over the operation for a bit, then get some lunch at a beach-restaurant nearby.

At around 10 o'clock I'm looking at the docks, and the tide is really low. I haven't been tracking tides or anything, but this has got to be dead-low tide. The boats that are tied to the docks are straining against their ropes because they are so far down the pillars.

I exchange greetings with my clients, and we do the cultural exchange and small talk thing for a little bit. He starts to point out some of the shrimping boats that are bouyed out at sea, and he stops. The boats are struggling, like they're being pulled down against their ropes. It was seriously weird - like the sea was trying to suck them in. He looks a little funny, hard to describe, especially across a cultural divide.

He wants to go back to his offices, and we walk back down the long pier. By the time we get to the end, the tide is BELOW dead-low tide. Some of the boats on shorter ropes are hanging. And the people on the beach are looking out to sea. We turn around and see one of the boats struggle and then capsize, and a big wave.

It sounds silly, but the wave didn't look that much bigger than a big ocean swell at the time. But it seemed to be growing, and coming faster than the other waves, overtaking them. My host said something in Thai, which I didn't need translated, because I could look around me: I ran like hell.

I didn't make it. I hear the roar behind me and felt the water take my feet out. Something hit me, and if I had to guess, I'd say it was part of a building that came down at about that time. I went under, and the biggest thing I can remember is thinking that the currents were totally fu(ked up under there. I was being pushed primarily with the flow of the water, but there were so many eddies and backflows that it was like being pulled apart. I just tried to follow light and get my head above water.

I don't know too much of what happened, but I ended up watching the water flow out from the ground floor of a building several blocks out. It was at least a couple hours from the time I hit the beach when the waters receeded enough to go out without losing your footing - that's how much water was there.

The place was a freaking warzone, or worse. Buildings were just gone. People were dead and dying all over the place. Sea creatures were in bizzarre places.

But I was pretty much okay. I'd swallowed a lot of seawater, and was bruised and cut in a bunch of places, but I was alright.

Why did I end up in the hospital? Two reasons: 1) I caught some horrible something or other that made me wish I'd died in the wave; but 2) is more interesting - I got stung by a big-a$$ poisonous jellyfish walking around after the waters receeded. I went to the makeshift hospital when the red lines were up my leg and I was running a high fever, and I caught the whatever-it-was tropical fu(king plauge when I was already there.

Of course, my MedJet wasn't functional because there were no working airstrips. So I had to wait a couple weeks before they'd fly me the fu(k out of there (after finagling a boat trip to HongKong) and back to a land of modern medicine and running water.

I slept for a couple weeks (essentially), took care of business, smiled wanly at well-wishers who I wanted to get the hell out of my face, watched the Patriots win the Superbowl again, and here I am.

So that's the story (short version). Thanks for your support, Planet. I'm trying to recover on the business end of things, and so I'm not going to be here all that much, I assume, but I wanted to thank you all for your support and your prayers.
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Howdy there, I'm Oedipus Tex.
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I'm Oedipus Tex, that's what I said.
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:26 PM   #2
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Fascinating. Great read. You should send this to some newspaper, or the New Yorker. seriously.
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:28 PM   #3
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Wow Tex... You are one lucky guy. Great to have you back and in one piece.
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:49 PM   #4
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That's a fascinating story Tex. It's good to hear that you are OK. Feel free to post more details about your experience. I would love to hear more.
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:10 PM   #5
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WOW! First you pull off "the switch" and now you survive "the Tsunami".

You're starting to live a "Forest Gump" type existence.
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:29 PM   #6
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Absolutely amazing story Tex..... made the hair stand up on my arms.

I can't believe you were actually swept under water in that Tsunami. You're lucky to be alive. I can't imagine what it all looked like just before the wave(s) hit. I saw many videos off of the web and I also thought that in some of the videos, the tsunami looked like nothing more than a "wave". In other videos it looked like a giant crashing tidal wave. I read up on it a little and learned that tsunami really has nothing to do with the size of the wave, it's an ocean surge. Some destructive tsunamis have been a mere 2 or 3 feet high. The true problem being that the whole fu(kkin ocean just comes on shore. Scary stuff.

Glad you're ok bro. Perhaps you should strike a deal importing things that come from a far inland location... ;)
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:34 PM   #7
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Glad you made it.

Think about playing the lottery. ;)
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:37 PM   #8
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WOW! First you pull off "the switch" and now you survive "the Tsunami".

You're starting to live a "Forest Gump" type existence.
Tex, have you considered a trip to Vegas or at least a few lottery tickets lately?

At any rate, glad to see you back on your feet. Good luck getting things back in order. Given what you've been through, I'm sure you'll pull it off with flying colors.
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:38 PM   #9
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I've been watching the Tsunami specials they've been running on Discovery and the National Geographic channel and will admit I am somewhat morbidly fascinated by the whole thing.

Oed is right. That freaking wave didn't LOOK all that dangerous judging from all the film I've seen of it (tons). In some places it looked scarier than others, but I saw nothing that would compare visually with, say, the typical offseason waves they get all day long on the North Shore of Hawaii.

The bastard just kept coming and that is typical of tsunami's.

I hope that if there is a lesson in all this it is to teach everyone that ever goes near a beach that if the tide gets sucked out all of a sudden to just run like hell, because there is only one explanation for it and that is that there is a big fukking wave coming.

I was aware of that, but on a beautiful sunny day on a tropical beach it might have been really tough to convince your brain that there is imminent danger.

Right in the middle of an important freaking business meeting. Surviving the worst natural disaster in recorded history. Running for your life. Tossed like a cork. Hit by a building. Stung by a jellyfish where there was no water.

Jesus, Oed. That was an amazing story.

Thank you for sharing it, because I'm sure many of us were dying of curiosity to hear what the hell happened to you over there.

I am really glad that you are OK. We were all sick over it. Even the trolls.

I don't care if that sounds silly or not.
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:42 PM   #10
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Tex, you're certainly going to have some stories to tell your grandchildren (sisters, owls, tsunami).

Your story just might inspire me to write another Oedipus poem....if I could only come up with a word that rhymes with Phuket! ;)
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:45 PM   #11
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Your story just might inspire me to write another Oedipus poem....if I could only come up with a word that rhymes with Phuket! ;)

Oooh, I can think of a good one.... bucket.
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:52 PM   #12
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Yabut, what is going on with the sisters??

:p

Seriously, amazing story, Tex. Glad that you are home. I hope you can get your business back in order. Look forward to you getting some time and helping us through the offseason.
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:59 PM   #13
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Yabut, what is going on with the sisters??

:p

Seriously, amazing story, Tex. Glad that you are home. I hope you can get your business back in order. Look forward to you getting some time and helping us through the offseason.
Maybe we should rename the July Jollies in honor of Tex?
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Old 02-11-2005, 02:16 PM   #14
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I've been waiting over a month to hear that story!

Thanks for sharing. What an ordeal!
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Old 02-11-2005, 02:28 PM   #15
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Maybe we should rename the July Jollies in honor of Tex?
We'll see if Oed has time to run them this year. If not and someone else does, I am sure they could rename them. ;)
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