American Independence Day
celebrations at the US Consulate
A great time was had by all
American Independence Day 2008 was celebrated one day early, on July 3, at
the US Consulate compound, hosted by the Consul General Michael Morrow and
the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12074. Luckily, and much to the relief of
the organisers, the rain stopped just in time for the event’s opening at 4
pm, followed by the sun favouring the crowds with an occasional glance in
that was one good cake!
Guests were treated to some good ol’ American food; burgers from McDonald’s
and Mike’s Burgers, pizza from Paradise Pizza, baguettes from Subway and
great coffee and cakes from Starbucks. Bud’s Ice Cream, not surprisingly,
had the longest queue throughout the celebrations! Just under 1,000 guests
showed up, ranging from a couple of octogenarians to babes in their prams,
many wearing colourful red white and blue hats, shirts and pants. There were
even three of the “founding fathers” - well, two actually; because one was a
‘mother’ who came as Abigail Adams, who was the 1st Second Lady and also the
2nd First Lady!
Consul General Michael Morrow (right) with co-host of American Independance
Day celebrations Mike Holmes, Commander of Post 12074.
Michael Morrow and Mike Holmes, Commander of Post 12074, officially opened
the ceremonies. Michael read a letter from the President of the United
“I send greetings to all American on Independence Day. More than two
centuries ago, bold and courageous visionaries pledged their lives, their
fortunes, and their sacred honour in signing the Declaration of
Independence. Guided by ancient and eternal truths, our forefathers
proclaimed to the world that liberty was the natural right of all mankind
and in doing so began one of the greatest chapters in human history. On the
fourth of July, our country commemorates its unwavering confidence in the
power of freedom. It was the desire for freedom that inspired our Founding
Fathers, and it is the belief in the universality of freedom that guides our
Nation. On this occasion, we pay special tribute to the men and women of our
Armed Forces, both past and present, who have answered freedom’s call and
defended the values that make America the greatest country on Earth. May God
Dominique and Mary enjoying the food and drink on offer.
In his speech, Mike Holmes reminded guests of the servicemen and women who
had made the ultimate sacrifice to uphold the power and blessing of liberty.
The speeches over, it was time for the fun and games. 17 local businesses
had donated food, equipment and over 30 door prizes to be given away
throughout the day. The ‘Watermelon Eating Contest’ and the ‘Pie in your
Face Contest’ were a great “hit” with both spectators and participants!
Entertainment was provided by the New City Gurus, the LJ Chompoowong Quartet
and the Montford String Orchestra, who also played the American National
Anthem. Nellie Yagmi gave a superb rendition of ‘America the Beautiful.’
After a display of fireworks, at the end of the evening there was a
ceremonial Lowering and Securing of the Colors by currently serving
soldiers, with a guard of honor provided by veterans from Post 12074. Most
agreed this had been one of the best Independence Day celebrations held in
Chiang Mai in recent years. As they left, guests were reminded about voting
in the Presidential Election later this year, and advised on the procedure
of voting from abroad, either at the Consulate offices on August 7 between 9
am and 11 am or via the internet at www.votefromabroad.org.
If you are planning an event, why not invite
[email protected] to help make it that little more special?
Acacia and Anna, two of the younger generation,
enjoying the ‘perfect day’.
The Founding Fathers (and one founding Mother).
Shannon, Valerie and Lindy working behind the
‘America Stall’ selling anything that was Red, White and Blue.
Mike See, Bill Horner, Mike Holmes and Stan
Gamester from Post 12074.
The boys from the Montfort Band.
The Watermelon Contest proved one of the
highlights of the day.
How many calories??
The winner of the Pie Eating Contest.
Nellie Yagmi singing ‘America the Beautiful’
backed by the Montfort Band.
Yodaya Fashion Show promotes young dress designer
“La Tenth Forest” collection emphasises
Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiengmai (centre)
with Apinone Kiratibhumidhama (3rd left) and Ongkarn Chaiongkarn
Northern Village at Airport Plaza saw the opening on July 6 of a fashion
event entitled “La Tenth Forest,” showcasing the work of the young and
talented dress designer Apinpone Kiratibhumidhama. Organised by the very
able Ongkarn (Jojo) Chaiongkarn, president of Public Relations &
Marketing’s Association of the North, the guests of honour included Dr.
Chao Duangduan na Chiengmai, and featured glamorous young male and
female models including a superstar from Bangkok, Polar Issawa.
Apinpone, who studied at the East West Japanese Language Institute,
Tokyo Masuda Gakkuin in Japan, launched her new collection with the
theme ‘Back to Natural Products’. Examples of her designs were used
recently in Anchalee Kalmapijit’s Elephant Life Experience Fashion Show.
All her designs are made up in Chiang Mai; ‘La Tenth Forest’ featured
daywear, casual, and elegant eveningwear created mainly for younger
adults - although some pieces could easily be worn by the older
generation. For good measure, there were a few bare-chested young men
showing off unique belts with a Native American Indian theme. Although
Apinpone told the Chiang Mai Mail’s reporter that her favourite colours
are black and white, most of the outfits were extremely colourful.
On the catwalk itself, forming an effective backdrop, was a jungle of
large leaves and branches, emphasising the “natural forest” theme. The
launch, attended by over 100 guests from around Chiang Mai, plus 30
paparazzi, was catered by ‘Noom’ from Nasi Jumpru (Tel 081 831 9325).
For those who would like to own one of Apinpone’s stunning creations,
discounts of up to 70% will be available until the end of July.
“Fourth of July “celebrated by friends - on the fourth of July
Red, White and Blue themes international festivities
Glynn, KIm, Frank, Becky, Richard
and Denis (l/r) posing for the camera.
Richard Dixon, Nat Chowmuang, Frank Weicks and Becky Lomax again
hosted a celebration of America’s Independence Day at CDC Design
Resource near Lamphun. A decidedly international group of guests
met in Chiang Mai for a parade to the grounds, waving red, white
and blue balloons all the way.
The grounds were decorated with red, white and blue wind socks
that blew gaily from the trees, red and blue balloons, and red
and blue chairs. The color scheme was carried through to the
tables, and both an American and a Thai flag were flying. Every
guest brought abundant food that ranged from barbequed chicken
and ribs to potato salad and slaw. A perfect chocolate cake and
an ice cream cake topped it all off.
The factory dog hid under the shrubbery, but was proclaimed the
“security dog” despite her disgrace. A portion of the Official
American Presidential Independence Day message was read, and
guests further celebrated with games and singing. David Crisp
played patriotic favorites, and was rewarded with a tin of tea
as a gift of thanks for his musicianship and “to make up for
that tea-in-the-harbor incident,” all said in good fun! Games
included an egg toss, and for the second year in a row the Thai
participants were outstanding. Fewer broken eggs were counted
near their feet than anywhere else. The winner was awarded “$100
worth of gasoline,” which was in reality a small bottle of tea.
Winners in the “shave the balloon” contest were awarded a “gift
certificate” and a “book,” both with satirical content. Whilst a
charming donkey stood ready for “pin the tail on the donkey,”
guests were having too much fun to stop and play the game.
A decidedly non-professional but beautiful fireworks display was
provided from the safety of the lily pond. This year all of the
fireworks went straight up as they were intended to do, and the
sky lit up with beautiful colors. The final event was the
release of an enormous khoom loy in celebration (according to
Richard) of the end of the current political administration and
in hope of good things to come.
The evening was one of good fun and good spirits, with guests
bringing food and drink, leading games, and enjoying a relaxing
Richard, Murray, Bernard, Nop John,
Amnoy (standing) with Joe, Sak Milt and James (seated) tucking
into some great food on Independence Day.
Antoine, Valerie, Bruce, Aow, David
and Becky (standing)
with Yoon Cha-on and Jimmy (seated) before the games began.
Saimoonburi Resort - small and
‘A Home Away From Home’
For the first of a series of articles on resorts in and around
Chiang Mai, we decided to head north from the city. Having lived
here for several years, I had never been past Chiang Dao; so we
decided to drive north on Route 107 towards Fang. My friend had
been to Fang before - and had told me he did not know of a
decent hotel or resort within the area except for the new
Saimoonburi Resort in Chai Prakarn. The journey from Chiang Mai
is 120 km and took just over 2 hours 15 minutes, driving at a
leisurely pace. Finding the resort, which is located approx 22
km before Fang, we checked in and used it as our base for
relaxing and exploring.
entrance to the restaurant.
Chai Prakarn is a typical Thai modern town with all the usual
amenities such as banks, shops, chemists, restaurants and bars.
Upon arriving in the town, Saimoonburi Resort is on the left,
just after the road widens into a dual carriageway. At the
entrance is a popular stylish coffee shop called “Coffee Hi”. A
long driveway leads into the resort itself, set in beautifully
maintained gardens within which are a collection of modern Bali
style buildings. The hotel itself appears to be a well built
luxury home - we later found out it actually was and has been
painstakingly turned into a resort over a several year period.
The main house, modern Asian style, now consists of 6 bedroom
suites, all with en suite facilities. Three of the suites have
large double beds, one has two single beds and two suites
feature smaller single rooms. Every suite is different, but all
have satellite TV, minibar, and fridge. Rooms are elegant and
practical, several open on to what appears to be your own
private garden, some also look out onto the lake. The bathrooms,
in most cases, are large walk-in shower facilities, with all the
monogrammed toiletries one would expect from a 5-star hotel. The
building would be ideal for a family or a small group of friends
travelling together, and offers all the privacy of your own
home. At this point it must be said the whole, almost new, house
is extremely clean and well maintained. The 15 meter swimming
pool is not chlorinated but is salted and is totally private,
surrounded by palm trees. In the changing room we found a small
sauna. Upon closer inspection, the environmentally conscious
guest will find an installation of solar panels.
15 metre swimming pool.
Dinner is served in the ‘Baan Suan’ restaurant, a totally
separate lakeside building very popular with locals. There are
five separate areas in the restaurant, live Thai and Western
music and plenty of efficient, friendly staff. We shared four
dishes between two of us including the signature dish “Seafood
curry in a cap” (cooked in tin foil) at 90 baht which was
exceptionally tasty - the entire bill came to 600 baht including
drinks. All in all, the food was excellent and at great prices
compared to Chiang Mai. The restaurant has a special “Chinese
banquet” on offer which I intend to try on my next visit with a
group of friends.
Breakfast is served to order in “the breakfast room” adjoining
the main house including plenty of fresh coffee, while ‘Coffee
Hi’ has a selection of coffees (35 baht), teas (25 baht), a
bakery and wireless internet connection.
We decided to head off to Fang for the evening, where there are
4 or 5 clubs and bars, popular most nights with a young crowd of
Thai people and a splattering of foreigners at the weekend.
Local attractions include Doi Wiang Pha National Park which
covers an area of 364,375 rai and also Mae Fang National Park
(378,125 rai). They are home to various species of wild animals
including jungle fowl, wild pigs, pythons and a colourful
variety of birds and butterflies. Besides its fresh, cool
climate, Mae Fang also boasts spectacular waterfalls, caves and
hot springs - one of its most spectacular attractions is the
Tard Mork waterfall. Activities include mountain climbing, cave
exploring, forest trekking and nature sightseeing.
The Fang Hot Springs are located in a 10 rai plot of land with
the largest pond having hot steam rising 40-50 meters above the
ground, popular with locals and travellers alike who luxuriate
in the natural baths and steam rooms while others boil eggs in
some of the smaller ponds.
Doi Angkang is a “must visit,” for its sheer beauty and amazing
views whilst staying at the Saimoonburi Resort. Many of the
local hill tribe people live in this area.
Additionally, a recently discovered ancient forest offers forest
walks amidst ponds of crystal clear water. Even after exploring
all this, there is still plenty more - if you get lost you never
know where you might end up. Give yourself a day to get back to
Chiang Mai, possibly stopping off at Chiang Dao to visit the
Prices at Saimoonburi vary from 900 baht per night up to 3,500
baht. Deals can be done for large groups of friends or a family
requiring more than one room.
The resort is convenient for exploring in the area, yet in town
and therefore close to all amenities - it’s also the perfect
place to stop over on the alternative route to Chiang Rai and
Mae Sai as the air is much fresher and cleaner throughout the
year. Many local dignitaries visiting Fang have stayed at the
resort - the staff speak good English, and can give good tourist
advice. All in all, Saimoonburi Resort could definitely be
described as a “home from home”. For further information, visit
the website at http://www. saimoonburi-resort.com.
If you have any suggestions of a resort which you feel should be
reviewed, please contact aroundtown @chiangmai-mail.com.
The residence, main house.
The private lake.