Emperor Haile Selassie, whom Rastas consider a living god, granted 500 acres of his own land to Jamaican Rastafarians who wanted to return to Africa. The sediment has settled, he says, and underwater visibility is a crystalline 27 metres.The provincial governor has offered to buy back damaged property and transform Tonsai Village into a national park and memorial for the tsunami victims."Phuket is big enough and strong enough to be back on the map already," says Phil Russell, a Phuket-based travel agent "Phi Phi still needs some time to heal.". But their easygoing lifestyle and attachment to marijuana has led to clashes with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Some moved away during the brutal Mengistu regime which overthrew Selassie in 1974, but in recent years they have returned. The first came to Shashamene in 1971 to set up farms, and at one point more than 2,500 lived in Ethiopia, filling the streets of the market town with their Caribbean food and multicoloured hats.
At least 50 of his companions perished on Koh Phi Phi."Afterwards, it was so quiet," he says "No electricity, no music, nothing. When the water thundered in, there were horrible screams and chaos But people drowned within minutes. No one screamed after that."Gary Stearman, 40, a diver from Brighton, sorts equipment for his Thai employer Mr Stearman hopes day trips will recommence at Long Beach. Now officials warn about the rats.Smoke pillars from burning rubbish streak the cloudless sky, but the turquoise water stretches like silk to the horizon.Up on the scrubby hill behind the resort, where the tsunami survivors huddled on higher ground, Mathias Neilsen, a Danish hotel receptionist, is checking to see which of the bungalows on stilts is repairable He cannot shake the memory of Boxing Day.
The cement pier has been smashed away by the tidal wave and broken boats litter the rocks. But a new wooden dock is already in place, leading across the headland to a sea gypsy's snack shack.There are no customers and the owner stares at the vacant beach and describes a solemn rite with rice and joss sticks "We fed the sea to satisfy its hunger. And to show our respect," he says.Nipon Pongsuwanthe, from the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, heads a group of 100 scuba volunteers who tend the broken coral. The reef west of Bamboo Island, five kms away, took a direct hit and blunted the tsunami's power before it struck these eastern beaches "It is a mess," he says. "Uprooted trees and housing material are strewn on it."At Loh Dalam bay, the seabed is very shallow. There was no slope to slow the wave, so a huge amount of water was powered by the earthquake onto the shore.