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Mermaids at The House

Fairytales and Folktales in Chiang Mai

Four Seasons Resort celebrates 10 years

Mermaids at The House

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale dinner

Michael and Marion Vogt

It was a special evening last Saturday at ‘The House’, where guests were greeted by waiters and waitresses dressed in fairytale-outfits, or as mermaids. The whole restaurant had been transformed into a magic castle, straight out of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.

Aladdin’s Cave, the terrace behind the Tapas Bar, was the stage for Arabic dances by the Chiangmai Ballet Academy as well as for ‘Nikki’, the local tea guru, who served exotic hot and cold teas throughout the evening.

The main restaurant was an aquarium, with rip-curls waving from the ceiling, a mermaid embedded in shells and foam, and living goldfishes bubbling away in glass bowls on the tables.

The more private and intimate Nightingale rooms on the first floor were set out for those who wished to quietly listen to recitals and readings from Andersen’s works, as well as having their fortune told by Linda and her Tarot cards. In addition, the terrace behind the Tapas bar became an Aladdin’s cave with treasure boxes filled with jewels and valuables.

The guests were encouraged to move through the different settings, to enjoy the numerous delicacies. The Mermaid room invited the diners to more aquatic specialties, such as graved laks, star sushi with beetroot, and oriental shrimps with baby corn, capsicum and spring onions. Aladdin’s cave tickled the oriental taste buds with Couscous, shitake mushrooms, various pita breads and chorizo salad, sporting watermelon, and Feta cheese, while the Nightingale room specialized in pasta and sweets, where the chocolate fondue proved extremely popular.

Joanna MacLean (centre) from La Luna Gallery arrives with friends at The House to be part of the Hans Christian Andersen night.

Honored by the presence of the Danish Ambassador to Thailand, HE Ulrik Helweg-Larsen and his wife, a selected group of dancers from the Chiangmai Ballet Academy enchanted the guests with performances from “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” both based on Andersen’s original writings.

This theme evening was as unusual as it was inspiring, and should be commended as such. Although Chiang Mai is blessed with spectacular and out of the ordinary events, the Andersen night placed our city on the world map together with Copenhagen and New York, as over 3,000 events took place in honor of arguably the most famous person from Denmark.

Judith Utley, hidden in the waves of the ocean, played the harp tunes for the diners.

Bits and bites, according to the theme of the rooms, were displayed throughout The House, with the green apples filled with the most delicious cold Gazpacho-style tomato soup with a hint of basil and coriander.

Hans Christensen, proprietor of The House gave his guests the red carpet treatment, including the Danish Ambassador to Thailand, HE Ulrik Helweg-Larsen’s party and Lasse Norgaard of La Luna Gallery.

 Louise Truslow, a well known British artist based in Bangkok, read short stories by Hans Christian Andersen in the Nightingale room.

Two little mermaids from Chiangmai Ballet Academy danced appropriately in the Mermaid room.


Fairytales and Folktales in Chiang Mai

Sandy Clark

April 2, 2005 marked the celebrations worldwide on the occasion of the 200 year anniversary of the birth of one of the most well known Danes, art lover and storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen.

(From left) Lasse Norgard and HE Ulrik Helweg-Larsen, the Danish Ambassador

La Luna Gallery started celebrating with 20 artists from Asia, or living in Asia, who exhibited ‘their’ art creations, inspired by Andersen’s fairytales or any other fairy or folktale in local culture.

The result was witnessed by a large audience who gathered at La Luna despite the almost unbearable seasonal heat. Objets d’Art from carpets to paintings to photographs exposed the wonderful world of magic, of beliefs and of vivid imagination.

Old and young, everybody listened in awe. The fascination of old fairytales is still evident today and Hans Christian Andersen’s stories are universal.

Fairytales and Folktales has a dancing ugly duckling, an agonized mermaid, a couple of Thumbelinas, a windy triangular garden, plus woven elves, creations of Sagittarius and some highly unusual interpretations of the epic of the Ramakien.

Even the cakes were decorated with silhouettes from Andersen’s tales.

HE Ulrik Helweg-Larsen, the Danish Ambassador, said that he was quite sure that Hans Christian Andersen would have heartily approved of an exhibition such as Fairytales and Folktales.

The little mermaid in the front, a very unique, brightly colored acrylic on canvas by Belgian artist Christian Develter was amongst the first sold.

Lasse Norgard, one of the three partners in La Luna Gallery and initiator of this unique display of art, pointed out in his humorous speech that if Anderson were alive today, he would most probably have taken antidepressants, perhaps declared himself openly gay, been happier and probably would have not have written his fairy tales. He was so different. He could see the world from different perspectives, from nature and humanity, from the poor to the obscenely wealthy and from both male and female angles, but most of all he could see the world from the child’s perspective.

An exhibition very well worth a visit until May 15, 2005 with a number of the participating artists exhibiting in La Luna Gallery for the first time.


Four Seasons Resort celebrates 10 years

Sandy Clark

The Four Seasons Resort began a full day of 10-year anniversary celebrations with early alms for 99 monks, Buddhist blessings and a meeting at the spirit house on April 1.

(From left) Hon Australian Consul Michael Walther with his wife Maem, Neil B. Jacobs, Four Season’s Senior Vice President Operations Asia/Pacific from Singapore, Kathy Heinecke, Andrew W. Harrison, GM Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Titiya Chooto, Resort Manager and Colonel Pachom, commander of 5th Special Force Regiment.

In the evening, local dignitaries, the Chiang Mai diplomatic corps, and invited guests gathered in front of the Cooking School to celebrate 10 very successful years that have been enjoyed by this luxurious hotel that overlooks terraced rice fields and mountains in the beautiful Mae Rim Valley.

Lanna dancers line the route to the cooking school pavilion where invited guests experienced Four Seasons Resort hospitality.

General Manager Andrew Harrison said that the time has come for the resort to give back to a community which welcomed them 10 years ago. A scholarship fund for 124 students aged 11-12 years in the Mae Rim district was set up to allow underprivileged children to continue from Patom 6 to secondary school. Beneficiaries include 12 year old Supitcha, an orphan living with her grandmother, who also has to look after three other grandchildren. The Four Seasons Resort also assists at the Viengping children’s home for 1,000 children, some HIV positive while others cannot be supported by their families.

The evening ended with a superb dinner at the cooking school and its open-air dining pavilion, where the resort’s culinary team showed off their skills and the guests were treated like kings, said to be the signature of a Four Seasons experience.