Vol. VII No. 11 - Tuesday
March 11, - March 17, 2008

Business & Travel
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Chiang Mai FeMail
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Updated every Tuesday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Launch of innovative and luxurious new massage service at the Oasis Spa

A Yunnan Journey into Living History


Launch of innovative and luxurious new massage service at the Oasis Spa

Authentic “Gold Massage” to specially composed music

On February 29, Oasis Spa Chiang Mai hosted a spectacular launch party to introduce their innovative new ‘Authentic Lanna Music Therapy Gold Massage’. Invited guests were asked to dress in ‘White and Gold’ - the photos will give some idea of what a feast for the eye this provided! Instead of bringing flowers or gifts, they were asked to help by donating money for a local children’s’ home.

Dr Mom Chao Duangduan na Chiengmai presided over the launch of Oasis Spa’s Authentic Lanna Music Therapy Gold Massage; music composed by K. Supod Sookk. A new logo ‘Oasis Spa, Thailand” was also revealed. More than 200 guests from various organizations attended the event and received a warm welcome from its two CEOs: Pakin Ploypicha and Toby Allen.
The new treatment immerses clients in a symphony of sensations. A musical masterpiece created expressly for the treatment delights the ear, and guides the therapists through an intricate four-handed massage. Aromatherapy oil infused with flakes of purest gold is gently and thoroughly massaged into the skin, gilding you from head to foot.
Pure gold has been revered through the ages as the secret to a more youthful and beautiful skin. Cleopatra is said to have slept in a gold mask to maintain her legendary beauty. L’Age d’Or, (The Age of Gold), refers to the Greek myth of the “four ages of the world”. During the first age, that of Gold, humans were believed to have lived in a perpetual state of youthfulness, happiness, plenty and peace. A Caribbean legend, “The Fountain of Youth”, well documented throughout the years, tells of a fountain identified with the auric richness of gold. If bathed in or drank from, it gave youthful energy and eventually longer life. Medical science has discovered that gold soothes aching joints and muscles, rebalances oily skin, and heals at cellular level to restore damaged and aged skin.
The Oasis Spa mission is to provide the ultimate spa experience by combining ancient remedies with advanced discoveries in the fields of both beauty and wellness, in order to create treatments that not only feel good and make you look good, but which really make a difference to clients’ health and wellbeing.

Junnapong Saranak (right), Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand,
Northern Region, attending the launch at Oasis Spa.


A Yunnan Journey into Living History

Early evening view over the “Lake Geneva of China”.

Story and pictures LouJean LaMalfa
Our China trip was incredible as usual - China is that kind of country - and our trips are always enhanced because of our Chinese “family” and friends. This year we were introduced to the true meaning of the Chinese New Year, with all its traditions and customs. It was our second visit to Dali and Li Jiang, via a short flight from Chiang Mai to Kunming, China, and we arrived just in time to be included in all the family’s New Year festivities. We were the guests of a Chinese English teacher who chaperoned the Chinese girls who stayed with us in our home in America three years ago on an exchange visit. Her English name is Linda; her Chinese name is Li Yan Hui - the first syllable being her surname, as Chinese give their last names first. Her husband, known to us as “Mr Black”, is Hei Chaoming. Hei, in Chinese, means “black”, and his first name, Chaoming, means “going towards the light”. We’ve always thought this is a charming and expressive combination.

A street in the old city area of Dali, Yunnan province.
This year, Linda and her husband were our gracious hosts in their home town of old Dali, where we spent a week with both their families and celebrated the New Year together. We met Linda’s family, and her father, who is 88 years old, we met Mr Black’s family, and his grandfather, who is 97 years old, and we were invited back to Dali to celebrate his 100th birthday!
At the age of 17, towards the end of Mao Tse Tung’s “Cultural Revolution”, Mr Black was sent away to be re-educated, along with 11 other young men. Their destination was a farming village, where they were to learn from the peasant class. The group stayed in the village for three years working in the fields; during that time Mr Black met his future wife, Linda. We went, with the family, to that village, and met the former “team leader” responsible for the re-education of the group many years ago. Now an old man, he and his wife welcomed Mr Black and Linda as if they were returning family, and it was obvious that Mr Black really loved them both. What a contrast this “living history” experience was, compared to the horror stories about re-education common to that period of Chinese history!
Mr Black’s father is still committed to the ideals of Communism, and lives on a comfortable government stipend in a housing unit that he actually owns. We visited for our first New Year’s supper - Mr Black and his dad cooked the delicious meal! Linda’s father, however, was a Kuomintang supporter, in opposition to the Communist regime, and her family’s life was hard as a result. We visited the family’s home village, one and a half hour’s drive over poor mountain roads, and spent the day there with Linda’s father and the rest of her family. During the day, everyone went to another mountain site to visit the cemetery where Linda’s mother and ancestors are buried. It is traditionally important at the New Year to pay homage, burn incense and make offerings of food and drink at the graves of the departed. After we had returned to the village, we visited the temple to pay homage to Linda’s family’s entire ancestral line, which can be traced back 1,200 years to the Tang Dynasty, (618-907 a.d.).
Mr Black’s brother, whom we also met, is quite well-off; being one of China’s leading high-diving coaches, he is at present training some of China’s Olympic hopefuls, and also heads up a major real-estate company. We were taken to one of his properties located at a mountainside golf course in Dali - backed by snow-covered mountains and fronted by a beautiful view over what is known as the “Lake Geneva of China”. On New Year’s Day itself, this kind man took the entire family to the most exclusive and expensive restaurant in Dali for a special lunch in a private room. Delicious food, endless dishes, and impeccable service!
Our next stop on the trip was Li Jiang, the world heritage city at the foot of the Himalayan plateau, where Tibetan culture, ethnic minorities, (Bai, Naxi, Yai, and who knows which other tribes), and Chinese tourists mingle, stroll, sightsee, and eat. The city is one of the most magical places we have ever seen, and spending a week there was a wonderful experience. The city is over 800 years old, with streets cobbled with 5-colored stones, giant water wheels, canals with crystal clear mountain waters running over emerald green vegetation, golden fish, and stone bridges, all illuminated at night by glowing red lanterns. We witnessed hundreds of old people in native attire performing trance-like line dances in the square at eight in the morning. Cold, then warmer, warm, then cold - this is a place where you can experience 4 seasons in one day! We even visited Dr Ho, the “world’s most admired man”! A practitioner of herbal medicine, acupuncture, natural healing, etc, etc, he gave me, (after looking at my tongue and feeling my pulse), special tea and herbs for an alcohol infusion for my back! I’m sure I’ll be cured of everything that ails me!
We stayed on the top floor of a small Chinese hotel, (no English, no Western tourists), one block outside the old town, with wonderful views of Snow Mountain and ancient rooftops. On a trip up into the mountains, we visited villages whose livelihood was based on providing guides, horses, donkeys and ponies to Chinese tourists who wished to go further into the wilderness. Crystal-clear air, cobblestone streets, stone houses, snow on the peaks, silence and space.
The magic of this trip was, to us, that we saw how the real people live and how they celebrate the most important festival of their year. Everything, including the food, of course, was fantastic, and we were treated to tastes and smiles everywhere. The generosity of our Chinese “family”, who including us in all their family traditions and took us with them everywhere, put us “behind the scenes” and gave us the experience of a lifetime. What a blessing to be healthy and to have the opportunity to following our adventurous spirits and to be so warmly welcomed and greeted by the world.

Mr Black with his family and the Communist “team leader”.

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