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A welcome to 2006 around Chiang Mai

Jazzed to the Moon and Back!

A welcome to 2006 around Chiang Mai

Chiangmai Mail reporters

‘It’s a small world’ was celebrated at the Amari Rincome Hotel including aboriginal dancers from Australia.

While people on the Christmas Islands and New Zealand, who entered 2006 first, had already gone to sleep, and people on Samoa and Hawaii were still busy with last minute shopping for the party of the year, Chiang Mai was alive and in party gear to welcome the next 365 days Lanna style, mythical, traditional or extravagant.

In small towns in America, Europe, or Africa, people bring out their customs and follow them, but Chiang Mai has been a melting pot of cultures, who all shared their individual traditions and ways of life. The Rachamankha Hotel, in the center of the old town, was transformed to an ancient Lanna village and their program included drum beating, sword dances, puppet performances, ‘khom loys’ for all guests and colorful performances by the Hom Loeng Group, who love and preserve local traditional arts. Guests wandered through the village, having the choice of watching mythological creatures such as the half-bird, half human ‘kinnaree’, ‘garuda’, eagles, dragons and ‘naga’ serpents from the Himalayan forest at the entrance to the hotel while the garden was transformed to a Lanna food market place and the inner yard and dining room of the hotel was filled with elegant people munching on international hors d’oeuvres, sipping champagne and watching human - marionette dances.

Puppet performances led by Vilawan Svetsreni was the center of attention in one of the inner yards of the Rachamankha Hotel.

Many hotels in town had theme parties, from ‘It’s a small world’ to Fun Fairs to New Years around the world, all reflecting the international flair found in this town in the North of Thailand.

As a change from previous years, the fireworks seemed to be slightly less and wailing of car horns, which is a ‘noise custom’ to drive away evil spirits, could not be heard anywhere in town, other than the occasional sirens of police and ambulances who seemed to be busy all night long.

The Chiang Mai’an ‘Austrian connection’ (Alfred, Nikolaus and Alexander) with friends.

The largest crowds were probably around Thapae gate with beautiful decorated stages but whoever was caught in traffic there most probably had to wait until after midnight in the car, as traffic came to a standstill.

In restaurants around town, people were in a great mood, wearing colorful paper hats, playing trumpets, smoking ‘the last cigarette’, blowing party horns and dancing the night away. But there were also couples and friends, sitting together, just enjoying each others company and trying to let 2005 end in ‘slow motion’ contemplating the New Years resolutions yet to be executed.

Whatever you did and whichever resolutions you might have for 2006, Chiangmai Mail wishes you peace, health and prosperity in the next 12 months ahead.

Fancy hats, good mood and no politics on New Years Eve. (From right) Pornchai Jitnawasathian, Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor; Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor; Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai Mayor; Yaowapa Wongsawat Deputy Chief of Thai Rak Thai Party; and Kraisorn Pornsuthee Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Information and Communication Technology at the official party at the Thapae Gate.

D2 Guru Somock Inthavong (right), Angele Liu, Guru 2 of D2 Hotel (lady in the middle); and Chawalit Rungsirinatee Drink and Dine Whiz gave a warm welcome to in-house guests and visiting Chiang Mai residents.

Nick Bauer, General Manager of Imperial Mae Ping Hotel (middle) and his lovely receptionists in their fancy dresses at the countdown party in the Imperial Mae Ping beer garden.

Probably the largest khom loy in town had more than 10 people trying to make it fly, to take away their sins, bad luck and the worries.

Rooj Changtrakul (5th from left) was the initiator of the Lan Na Cultural fair. Seen here with guests from the diplomatic corps, the universities and media.

Sergio Canale of Buonissimo presented a huge variety to his diners at his newly renovated ‘Buonissimo’, La trattoria del Sergio, on December 31.

Pisan Torphet (Chef Pom) (standing left), and Hans B. Christensen (standing right) welcomed Alan Holm and Rita Gustafsson from the ‘Kids Ark Foundation’ at ‘The House’ on December 31, 2005.

Party mood at ‘To Nobody’. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jeffrey and friends after their meal and raffle…

Michael Nitzsche, (standing back) cook and proprietor from The Green Oasis restaurant treated his guests to a five course Gala dinner and Russian champagne.

Franco Choce, owner and soul of Pum Pui Italian Restaurant showed his hospitality with authentic Italian dining during the countdown for 2006.

Part of the ‘Delaney’ family was spotted at ‘The Glass Onion’ with proprietor Kris Lee (right rear).

Esther Ting (standing right) and Livio Barell (standing left) celebrated the New Year countdown with friends and guests at the romantic River Ping Palace.

David Brown, David Summers and Dr. Howard
C. Graves Jr. enjoyed food and drinks with
friends at the New Year party at ‘Krit’s Pasta’ on Nimmanahaeminda Road.

The New Year party at the Amora Tapae Hotel Chiang Mai was celebrated with tourists from USA, Europe, and China who were treated to cultural dances, international food and a huge raffle before the firework display.

Rachamankha was filled with mythological creatures such as ‘kinnaree’, ‘garuda’, eagles, dragons and ‘naga’ serpents from the Himalayan forest.

Nong Phraew Nuttida Damrongwisetpanich, a well known actress had her picture taken with Santa Claus during the end of year celebration at Central Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai.

Jazzed to the Moon and Back!

Scott Jones Photos: Scott Jones, Michael Vogt

Chiang Mai’s stellar keyboardist Big Boy was on board as well, seen here behind the jazzy moon silhouette

The music was out of this world at the “Jazz Me to the Moon” concert presented in an elegant “Great Gatsby” setting amongst the gardens at the Jaliang home late December 2005. From classic standards like “Misty” and “Take the A-Train” to original compositions to a well-known blues tune written by His Majesty the King, Bangkok’s Koh Mr. Saxman led first-class local and international musicians on a jazz journey: low key and sultry, then upbeat and funky, always A-OK. Some artists play music. Koh IS music. Whether taking center stage with soulful singing or creating a colorful galaxy behind other musicians in the spotlight, he is a joy to see and hear.

Koh Mr. Saxman and Greg Lyons in a sax duet

The passengers relaxed during the pre-concert countdown with libations and desserts before lift off with the sweet spirit, sax, and sex appeal of Jan Narisa. Koh’s comrade key-
boardist Pom Autobahn took control of the grand piano and dazzled the crowd with his nimble fingers and rich voice. The atmosphere got funky when Chiang Mai’s stellar keyboardist Big Boy jumped aboard as Koh traded light speed licks with guest artist Greg Lyons on tenor and alto sax. The trip took a Latin turn with England’s Brigitte Escobar who was obviously delighted to be one of the crew. Asked what she likes best about Thailand, she replied, “Oh, my! The people, the friendly people. And the food. And everything, just everything.”

It’s Latin lover time with guest artist Greg Lyons on tenor and alto sax and the unbeatable Brigitte Escobar.

After a stop on Planet Raffle and thanks to the Sponsor Stars (Land Rover, Chi Chang Computer, V-Sign, Ray Ban, Visa, Jaliang and Rimping Supermarket) Commander Koh brought us back to earth with a couple cosmic jams and everyone headed home with a smile, stellar melodies in their mind and a heavenly Jaliang coffee mug as souvenir of their voyage.

Jan Narisa and Pom Autobahn