On arrival in Bangkok, Lalida had a care package ready and waiting. Lalida and I call each other sisters, even though we are not related. We have a lot in common and talk about everything and anything.

We arrived on October 22 and the capital city wasn’t yet on high alert. But Lalida thought we needed a care package just in case. It included: drinking water; milk tea; crispy pork snacks; shortbread; toilet paper; umbrellas; Thai sweets; a fan; and the most useful of items – a manually-powered tiny torch. She thought of everything.

Each day, new drinking water would be delivered, along with my favourite fruit – mangoes. Lalida’s father has a property on which he grows mangoes and jackfruit. She also bought some Durian chips but I never managed to try these due to leaving Bangkok earlier than expected, thanks to the advancing floodwaters.

Lalida’s father has a joke. Every time Lalida and I meet – there’s some sort of crisis. Last time, in 2005, I was staying at their house when Lalida contracted chickenpox. I’ve never had chickenpox and ended up moving to a hotel. This time around, it was Nam-tuam – the floods. I’m hoping that Lalida and her Dad visit us in New Zealand in late 2012, along with her nephew, Peem. I stop short at joking that there will be another crisis, like an earthquake, considering we live just outside of Christchurch.

Mmmmmm…better get a Kiwi care package ready for Lalida!

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