Several years ago, E and I almost went to the Thai resort island of Phuket, an area hard-hit by the recent tsunami. Instead, we traveled further south, to the smaller and more isolated jewel of an island called Langkawi, off the western coast of Malaysia.
Think private, pristine and powdery beaches, dining by candlelight, and hotel rooms within a stone's throw of the Andaman Sea and the Strait of Malacca. It was featured in the 1999 film "Anna and the King." It survived the tsunami intact as it's sheltered by Indonesia's main island.
Though much of Phuket remained untouched by the natural disaster - which has now claimed at least 153,000 human lives - many Western tourists have canceled their trips to the island, according to press reports. So now E and I are thinking about going there later this year to support the Thai tourism industry, one of the country's main revenue sources.
Unfortunately, the lovely, noisy, baroque and slightly delapidated island state of Penang, further up the Malaysian coast, was not so lucky. The human death count so far is 68, and thousands were evacuated.
Running with the dog: I took Nelson for a 5-mile run this evening. It was a lovely night in the mid-50's; it felt almost like spring (famous last words before the cold front hits). I wore shorts for the first time in weeks.
The dog needs to learn to not run straight ahead of me, as I can stumble over him. He also needs to be nicer to other dogs. He's friendly with them, but he barks to tell them that he's the alpha dog.
Obedience training starts this weekend.
Watch this space: I'm composing my New Year's resolutions tonight. Better late than never, eh?!