Palong, sakuro, simplicity and a day in the mountains
Photos Michael Vogt
As all fairytales begin - Once upon a time some beautiful
young angels flew down to earth. It was hot, the air was sticky and on
reaching a mountain lake, they took off their wings to swim.
unreal event - trenches, military and a small open air bar where a soldier
sells coffee to monks who seriously discuss if they should buy a souvenir
t-shirt to prove they were almost in Myanmar.
A hunter from a nearby village saw them, reached for his
lasso and captured the rare creatures. That was the end of the angels.
Palongs had to stay on earth and even today their women wear this lasso-like
belt to remember that they actually came from heaven.
Moreau hides in a trench a couple of meters below the ground where the
borderline is still visible.
That’s the traditional side of the story and too
beautiful not to pass on from generation to generation. Otherwise the
village of Nor Lae would just be a reminder that you have reached the end of
the world as it appears unchanged for centuries. You see it in the houses,
unpaved streets, old women sitting on the porch and everybody wearing
traditional, colorful, home-weaved skirts and tops, with the lasso belt.
Dawson and his wife Anne from Chiang Mai plant sakuro flowers that will
blossom in about three years’ time.
We passed this village on the way to Nor Lae Camp, a
military outpost where just a few years ago daily fighting took place and
hundreds of troops were deployed along the mountain border stretch. Now, it
looks deserted and is more of a tourist spot where you can crawl along a
trench, buy an army t-shirt for 300 baht and use binoculars to see what the
Myanmar border guards are doing on the other side of no man’s land.
lasso-like belt - the symbol of the Palong hill tribes.
But we had come for a different experience. We came up
the mountain to help plant 1,000 sakuras, a Japanese cherry blossom tree, to
transform the bare hillside into a pink dreamlike peak. The cherry (sakura)
plant likes high altitude and cool weather, and its flowers need three years
to blossom. Our group was full of spirit but a little short of breath when
we reached the top, where a new meteorological station has been built and
where our guides introduced us to a student group from Khon Khaen,
Phitsanulok and Bangkok universities.
new meteorological station on top of the hill, picturesque from far away.
Instructions were short. “Walk down the hill. Wherever
you see a plant in a plastic bag, take it out and put it in the ground. The
plastic bags will be collected later by another group.” That was it. No
shovels (we had strong healthy hands), no garden equipment, back to nature.
It was a fascinating morning, working side by side with hill tribe people,
students, old and young. I counted six nationalities on our environmental
We will come back in three years’ time to see if all the trees have
Moreau and Prarina Khamlueng (Jim) are fascinated that it is possible to be
so near a border where only three years ago fighting was the order of the
villager’s house in Ban Nor Lae, near the border.
Camp, the end of Thailand.
different nationalities on their environmental agricultural mission.
Students from different universities around Thailand getting first hand
centuries ago - a Palong woman weaving in front of her house.
need to go to the bathroom? The toilet is open air but clean!
Vampires III - action movie shot in Chiang Mai
Marion and Michael Vogt
Vampires have appeared in films since the last century,
when movie making began. Living Films, the Thai/American owned Chiang Mai
production company with its Thai Producer Panyawadee Navarut Na Ayudhya and
American local production manager Chris Lowenstein, are presently working on
an international film of that genre.
Vampires III is a Hollywood movie with international
actors Colin Egglesfield, Stephanie Chao, Patrick Bauchau, partially based
in Chiang Mai and employing a huge Thai cast with professional actors Dom
Hetrakul, Noppan Bonya and Jarun Petchjaereun. Names you might not
recognize, but when you see their faces you are looking at well known Thai
Watching a whole night of action filming, it was very
visible how skilled, concentrated and precise the crew was, in treating each
situation and scene.
The story line involves an American couple (Connor and
Amanda) traveling through Thailand. After an argument in Chiang Mai, Amanda
meets Niran, a vampire biker who bites her, making Amanda a lost cause.
Connor, wishing to save his girlfriend fights Niran, but loses. On the way
he meets the beautiful ‘Sang’, and despite her being a vampire too, they
fight side by side against blood thirsty hordes of vampires. Not only
vampires, but professional vampire killers as well. Sang wants to end the
life of vampires which can only be done once every 800 years during a rare
solar eclipse. Connor and Sang battle alone to accomplish the impossible
task of saving the world from a plague of darkness.
Will they succeed? We will know when the movie comes to the local cinema.
You have been warned!
Mardy Weiss gives instructions to ‘Raines’ (Patrick Bauchau) who many
might remember as Jodie Foster’s ex-husband in Panic Room.
Rich concentrating shooting vampire slayer ‘Raines’.
fight scene with Niran (left) against Connor while much fighting is going on
in the background.
stuntmen rehearsing while ‘Connor’ watches from the ground. The Chedi in
the background is authentic studio work, done by Thai artists.
or the real actors? This was the real thing when Connor fights Niran, the
in Thailand known as actor Noppan Bonya, is supposed to shoot the deadly
(right) a mysterious fighter in the movie practices with his double in
must be able to move very quickly as the action enfolds.
left) ‘Niran’, well known Thai movie star Dom Hetrakul, ‘Connor’
(Colin Egglesfield) and ‘Sang’ (Stephanie Chao from Los Angeles),
watching the video taken on the set.
the male lead of the movie, has a smile like Tom Cruise, but it is Colin
Egglesfield (’12 Days of Terror’ 2003 or ‘Lost in Oz’ 2002).
stunt, powerful special effects, speed and very fit actors and crew are
needed when these kinds of scenes are shot. Connor is shot backwards through
The new Japanese Consul-General introduced to Chiang Mai
Michael and Marion Vogt
The Japanese Consulate in Chiang Mai held a reception at
the Tharathong II Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel, to celebrate the opening
of its new office. The Japanese Community is amongst the largest foreign
communities in the north with over 1,800 Japanese residents. The function
was also the official introduction of the new Consul-General, Katsuhiro
Shinohara who will reside in Chiang Mai with his wife.
left) Suwat Tantipat, governor of Chiang Mai; HE Atsushi Tokinoya, the
ambassador of Japan; HSH Prince Bhisadej Rajani, president of the Royal
Project Foundation and the new consul-general, Katsuhiro Shinohara.
The reception was a “Who’s Who” of the northern
community. HE Atsushi Tokinoya, the Japanese Ambassador; Suwat Tantipat,
Governor of Chiang Mai; HSH Prince Bhisadej Rajani, President of the Royal
Project Foundation; Dr. Jao Duan Dueng na Chiang Mai, the governors of
Lamphun and Phrae, Boonlert Buranupakorn, Major of Chiang Mai; senators and
honorary consuls, members of the House of Representatives, plus
representatives of the media and local businesses were present.
guests were a “who’s who” of the northern community.
The Consulate-General of Chiang Mai established on
January the 1st this year has jurisdiction over the northern Thai provinces
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Mae Hong Son, Nan and
A Consulate-General was needed to meet the increasing
needs for consular services in Chiang Mai and nearby provinces, also to
respond to the increasing demand for Japanese language and cultural
Consul-General Katsuhiro Shinohara said that he is
overwhelmed by the way people have welcomed him and integrated him in to the
community. He said he will, together with his team, render the best service
to the Japanese community and facilitate Japanese economic cooperation
activities in Northern Thailand.
Hash House Harriers hold annual “do” last week
Pictures: Michael Vogt
On May 7, the Chiang Mai Saturday Hash House Harriers
held their annual dinner at the Chiang Mai Hills Hotel. Our host was Sanworn
“Sunny” Santisuk, and the party turned out to sport formal format with
elegant women and partners. The venue was a spacious area next to the hotel
swimming pool (which, much to the surprise of most, did not become
frequented during the party ...).
(Stephen Lewin) and Sangworn Santisuk, general manager Chiangmai Hill 2000
Hotel who sponsored the ‘door prize’ of the night: 2 nights at his hotel
A Thai band was in attendance and supplied great music
all night, both Thai and Western, for dancing or easy listening.
The annual awards were given out, plus “special”
prizes, including 2 days at Sunny’s Resort in Loei, dinner for four at
“The Tavern”, and assorted bottles of spirit for door prizes.
The buffet was of the usual high standard expected from
the Chiang Mai Hills Hotel. Plenty of it, and good variety.
The dance floor was well attended and a very enjoyable time was had by
all the well-dressed Hashers.
with taste were needed to find the most sexy man of the night. The award
went to Mr. ‘Better Not’, (Rauner) by ‘Melle’, ‘Stickey Wicky’
and ‘Miss Piggy’.
lucky winners of a dinner for 2 at ‘The Tavern’ received a down down,
Drinking competition: 1/2 glass of beer, 1 hard boiled egg, 1 double
Tequila, 3 slices of sugar melon, and another 1/2 glass of beer. Wombat
explains but some are not so sure if they are up to it... Melle, the winner,
is the 2nd from left!
of the ‘male piss-head of the year’ was held between, from left: Frank N
Stein, Cool Balls, Head Hacker (John Shaller), Superman (John Lyons), and
Wombat (Stephen Lewin). The competition was to see who could finish first: 1
glass of beer, 1 hard boiled egg, 1 double tequila, 3 slices of lemon, 1
banana and finished off with a glass of beer. The winner was: Wombat! He
received, guess what: a glass of beer!
committee is fired! They do not look too sad about it!