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.
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
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
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.
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
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