The first surprise came when we drove through
Nimmanahaeminda Street. Normally blocked with traffic, cars, bikes and
pedestrians, compounded by the slow stoplights at that crossing, the street
now seemed deserted. No cars, no motorbikes, nobody screaming at tuk-tuk
drivers… Nothing! Once in a while a bike drove past us but it was
We stopped into the Amari Rincome Hotel and there it was
- the festive spirit which we had missed on the streets. Beautifully
decorated, the pool lit by burning candles on floating flowerbeds, it was a
mixture of cultures – short-trousered Korean tourists, in a hurry to find
their table and invade the buffet, protected by kitchen staff and waiters
with funny hats, and very festive American and European couples eagerly
awaiting what the countdown to 2003 would bring.
2003 balloons which were to be released at midnight.
multi-cultural, and very festive get-together - cheers to a new
2002 was the theme of one of the gala events at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel,
and the mostly foreign guests in the ballroom indeed had a ball, and were
treated to a spectacular fireworks show.
seems as if the management of the Imperial celebrates New Years Eve every
single day of the year - they are always dressed up, in a good mood, and
ready to party. GM Vorapong, center in blue, pretends to be Chinese.
- that’s how it’s been done
that there is no “Miss New Year” - contest! We spotted 2 contestants
We became caught up in the festive spirit and decided to
set off to Stop No. 2 – the Imperial Mae Ping. On the way we encountered
what we had expected, but didn’t receive, on Nimmanahaeminda Street.
Traffic jam time, busses blocking the road, and no parking space. But it was
worth a short walk to the hotel. Imperial Mae Ping was the host of two
parties: a most festive one for all tourists staying in the hotel, which
included a transvestite show, Thai traditional dancers and employees dressed
in fancy costumes. But there was more to come in the almost bursting
Imperial Beer Garden, with big screens everywhere, live music and even the
GM dressed in a fancy outfit to fit into the crowd. It was a party for
Chiang Mai’ans and the Thai customers of the hotel and Chiang Mai, who
were definitely in a partying mood.
For us it was time to move on. What was going on at
Thapae Gate? We wanted to find out since there had already been a huge stage
set up for the last couple of days. What did I say about not finding a place
to park the car? Did I say anything about deserted streets? Now we knew why
things were like this. They were all stuck around Thapae. Nothing was
moving. Traffic was at a standstill and nobody seemed to care. People wanted
to celebrate. Young backpackers, university students, Thais, farangs, old
and young, in evening gowns and in shorts. Nobody seemed to care.
we? Never mind, we are in a good mood.
cares about chairs, as long as there are trees.
and the Netherlands renew their friendship in Chiang Mai.
mh๒r agad! The man in the kilt explained that this means “Good
health to you”. Well, we’ll drink to that!
road again … or not? The deserted Nimmanhaeminda at around 8:00 p.m.
German tradition of molybdomancy was upheld at Joerg’s and Sunisa’s To
Nobody Restaurant. Old and young, German and non-German had a great time.
mummy, my balloon got muddled.
Chiang Mai City Hall had sponsored jokers, traditional
drummers, and internationally known Korean singers. Balloons and
firecrackers were already flying before the countdown to 2003 had even
begun. But there was enough left as the crowd started to count down the last
minute of the old year and started the first minutes of 2003, when over 2000
white balloons and fireworks were let off into the sky to enlighten the area
over Thapae Gate and let viewers for miles around see the spectacular sight
over the Chiang Mai sky.
The reporters of the Chiang Mai Mail were not
disappointed by the events organized around the city for this New Year. We
certainly had a great time and are sure that all you readers did as well.
Once again, Happy New Year to all, and may all your wishes and hopes for
2003 come true, and exceed your expectations.