Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Queen of Koh Tao!

I was visiting a friend and because she knew I had been thinking about becoming a rock climber (for about five minutes last spring), she had taped a TV show about rock climbing in Thailand for me to watch. But she did not tell me the name of the show so I was very surprised to see Koh Tao (Turtle Island) on the screen.

I have already told you the story of how my mother's family came to be known as the Suktukwans ("happiness every day"). King Rama V did not just reward my ancestor with a new family name, he also gave him an island, Koh Tao!

I did not mention this before because 1) Turtle Island is not much of an island, and 2) my ancestor immediately sold it for $500. Only five-hundred U.S. dollars? Well, it was 1910, but yeah, no matter how you calculate the inflation that's still only $11,000 in today's dollars.

The island does, however, look like a turtle.

It is the opposite side of the island that is featured in the show because that's where the rocky cliffs are, the ones that are so popular with rock climbers. You can see about a minute and a half of the show if you go to UCTV.

As a child we never actually visited Koh Tao, but I remember daydreaming about what it would have been like had I grown up to be the Queen of Turtle Island. As I recall, my imaginary Turtle Island was quite a bit larger and much more impressive. Still, I wish we had kept Koh Tao in the family as it is not everyone who gets to own an island.