Time to “gear up”
for the annual Toy Ride
“Size doesn’t matter” on the Toy Ride –
A reception was held October 23 at ‘Warm Up’ on Nimmanhaemindha Road
to launch the 2nd Annual Toy Ride 2009 which is due to take place on January
4. During the event, the organisers took the opportunity to thank the
sponsors of the 1st Annual Toy Ride, including Harley Davidson (Bangkok),
Tesco Lotus and BMW Discovery Tours for their much appreciated support. To
start the ball rolling, donations of 5,000 baht were received at the
reception from Richco Motor Sports, GT Rider and E-Insurance Thailand.
Over 200 motorbikes, ranging from the ubiquitous Honda Dream right up to the
superb Harley Davidson, took part in the first Toy Ride, which raised over
250,000 baht. The organisers of the rally do not give cash donations, but
use the money to buy toys, blankets and other necessities for their selected
charities and children. The first Toy Ride’s recipients included Vienping
Orphanage, Suan Dok Hospital and children from rural villages in the Samoeng
area. Surprisingly, after having delivered toys to children at Suan Dok
Hospital, the organisers received an emergency phone call asking for
colostomy bags as the hospital had run out and was having to reuse old ones.
Hearing this and happy to help, the Toy Ride donated 40 bags.
January 4’s Toy Ride will be a short one, and will include two circuits of
Chiang Mai plus a scenic route to Mae Rim, the reason being that the
organisers would like more ‘small bikes’ to take part. Bikers – just turn up
with a full tank, and a toy! There are also plans for rides to take place
every 3 or 4 months throughout the year, the first of which will be on
November 16 this year and will trace a route from Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao.
For further details, or to make a donation, please visit the Toy Ride’s
Unexpected storm fails to dampen Amari’s 2008 Wedding Fair
The Annual Amari Wedding Fair 2008 began with what was planned as a
spectacular gala opening on Friday 24, with the event extending over the
two live mannequins posing above the swimming pool.
The swimming pool had been transformed during the day with columns of
flowers, candles floating in the pool itself, and subtle yet effective
lighting. Three bars, six food stations, tables and ice carvings of love
hearts and champagne glasses – everything needed to produce the ‘perfect
wedding setting’ – had been arranged, ready for the more than 100 invited
guests, including local media, due to arrive at 6 p.m. Two live mannequins
had been posed on platforms above the swimming pool, dressed in a mix of
Edwardian costume and traditional Thai silk.
Unexpectedly, an hour into the festivities, the wind roared and the heavens
opened! With torrential rain soaking the scene and guests running for cover,
the Amari’s staff took just 10 minutes to clear the adjacent Lanna
Restaurant and reset the event under cover. Well done, guys, even if one
guest was overheard to mention the Titanic! Disaster averted, the band
played on, the food was of the Amari’s usual high standard, and everyone
enjoyed themselves until the storm subsided and the opening (again outdoors)
could take place. A fashion show, featuring beautiful brides and handsome
grooms dressed in wedding finery, followed, and Payap’s Ajarn Tae’s band
played on until the very end, accompanying the guests as they mingled,
gossiped and networked.
All agreed that full credit was due to the staff of the ever-popular hotel,
and to its executive assistant manager, Waranee Khammeru, for the way in
which they dealt with the drama!
For further details of Weddings at the Amari Rincome, please call
Nakornping International School
to hold Charity Boot Sale
Nakornpayap International School (NIS) will open its doors to the
entire community on Saturday November 22, when it will hold a charity boot
sale. It’s a great chance to sort out all those clothes, books, CDs and bits
and pieces which invariably lurk in Chiang Mai cupboards, and bring them
along so that others can get a chance to use them – and benefit the charity
as well! In addition to any members of the community who would like to
participate, a number of non-profit charity organizations will have booths
at the sale. There will also be a play area for children and a seating area.
60 spaces are available, costing 200 baht each, and reservations can be made
now by calling Melanie on 084-485-5986 (English speakers), Tae on
085-100-1770 (Thai) or the school’s office on 053-110-680 ext 101.
The event is being organized by one of NIS’ community service clubs, which
is linked with the Care for Dogs Temple Aid Program. In many temples, the
resident dogs are not given priority. Any food they are given tends to be
just leftovers, and medical care is almost nonexistent. Students at NIS
decided to address this problem by forming a Temple Aid Program in
conjunction with Care for Dogs, a local community organization which shares
the same goals. This community service club is the first of its kind,
started by students who felt that this was an important issue to which they
could dedicate themselves.
In August of 2007, NIS students made their first visit to Wat Nongpakrung, a
local temple which is home to about 25 dogs, and found their work cut out
for them. Funds were desperately needed to feed and provide medical care for
the dogs on a consistent basis. They didn’t give up – they’ve been providing
ever since! Each week, a bus full of students visits the temple, provides
food and checks up on the dogs. There’s always a new challenge, either a new
dog has just been dumped, or a beloved one has fallen sick. The kids take it
all in their stride, and the dogs love their human friends.
Rooftop Charity runner-up Croston House spends promised 30,000 baht
Back in August, on the occasion of the Amari Rincome dinner held to
choose the three beneficiaries of the 2009 Rooftop Charity Party, it was
announced that, due to the generosity of a donor, each runner-up would
receive the sum of 30,000 baht to be spent on necessities for their charity.
Glenn Croston of Lamphun’s Croston House orphanage, having just returned
from his fund-raising walk, chose last week to spend his 30,000 at the Makro
supermarket to the benefit of the children he and his wife care for. He
thanked the organisers of the Rooftop Party and the donor for their
generosity and help, and said he will be writing officially very soon. We’re
sure the kids enjoyed the goodies and special treats which must have been
part of his choice!
Glenn Croston of Croston House
in Lamphun spending
the 30,000 baht donation at Makro.
Democrats Abroad energize American Expats
The Democrats Abroad in Chiang Mai certainly doubled their efforts
to energize the region’s constituency of American voters abroad before this
week’s 2008 Presidential Election, held November 4. As Senator Joe Biden,
Vice Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, said in his debate with
Governor Sarah Palin, “this is the most important election you’ve ever voted
in your entire life.”
The United States, reeling in both foreign and domestic political turmoil
and in the worst economic downfall since the Great Depression, seems
desperate for change. After eight years of governance by Republican George
W. Bush, a president with one of the lowest national approval ratings in
history, Democrats have been particularly eager for what Barack Obama has
termed, “the change we need.” This desire for change has been echoed and
affirmed by national polling data.
Traditionally, the American political landscape has been marked by the
“Culture Wars” between North and South, each coast and the Midwest. During
presidential elections, Republicans and Democrats have competed in a
winner-takes-all system that awards all of a state’s electoral votes to just
one ticket. The divisions between Republican “red states” and Democratic
“blue states” are predictable. This year, however, polls have shown that
Democrats have been gaining ground – Virginia and even Nevada, traditionally
red states, have been considered “battleground states” for the first time in
decades. According to the New York Times, of the 270 electoral votes needed
to win, Obama has been expected to garner 260, with McCain on only 200. The
last 78 have been regarded as a “toss-up.”
The above has, no doubt, been taken to heart by Chiang Mai Democrats Abroad,
considering that there are approximately 6 million Americans living
overseas. The group has hosted three well attended screenings of each of the
Presidential and Vice Presidential debates at various locations in and
around town, has raised money for the Obama campaign, and has helped
citizens with their absentee votes. Jennifer Crist, Chiang Mai Democrats
Abroad member, says that she has “…never before felt so impassioned about
voting in the Presidential election.” Crist, who wields a politically
valuable Florida vote, is one of the many Americans who have participated in
an unprecedented number of early and absentee votes this year. Gallup, the
most prominent polling organization in the US, reported that, by October 26,
17% of registered voters had already voted. It also reported that, at that
point, Barack Obama led John McCain in likely voter estimates 50% to 45%
using the traditional model, and a slightly larger lead with 52% to 43% in
the expanded model.
The majority of Chiang Mai’s Americans abroad will probably know who will be
the successor to George W. Bush by the morning (however early) of Wednesday,
November 5, the day after US Election Day. If Obama has won, there will be a
celebratory bash open to the public at the UN Irish Pub from 7 p.m. to 9
p.m. Wednesday night.
Healing Family Foundation’s 3rd Anniversary
Next Saturday, November 8, the Healing Family Foundation will hold
its Three Year Anniversary Event at Rajamangala University of Technology
(Lanna) on Huay Kaew Road. The celebrations will run from 9 a.m. until 12
The event promises to be a fun-filled morning, with blue elephants, ‘mummy
men,’ ‘Dragon & Beauty’ and much more to enjoy! The Healing Family
Foundation, located at Baan Sanook, 2, Nawarket Road, close to Narawat
Bridge, operates a workshop mainly for disabled children in Chiang Mai. It
was formed by a group of parents in 2005, providing a space for people with
disabilities to enjoy themselves. Many of the children and young adults have
become experts in weaving on a specially adapted loom, and their crafts will
be displayed and for sale at the 3rd Anniversary Event.
For more information, please telephone 053-244-393.
Wanted: Cocktail Connoisseurs of Chiang Mai
The considerably stylish @Living Room Bar is putting on a night of
true drinking indulgence to mark the occasion of its first year anniversary.
As part of the celebrations they’re inviting people to come along and sample
a range of free delectable cocktails to help them update their cocktail
menu. Connoisseur status isn’t mandatory just come along, drink and vote on
The theme for the party is ‘Masquerade’ and there’ll be prizes for party
goers turning up in the most creative outfits. They’re also looking for five
volunteers for a special competition inviting people to create their own
cocktails. If you’re new to mixing, shaking and stirring, their experienced
bartender will walk you through the basics and then you’ll be let loose on
the bar, free to come up with your own concoctions. They’ll be prizes for
the winners as well as the winning tipple becoming a regular feature on the
@Living Room Bar menu. The first five volunteers to email
[email protected] .com will qualify for the competition.
Although having aged gracefully over the year, the bar itself has also been
through a bit of a facelift. There are some recent modifications to the
interior, with new games and new scenery as well as some new faces behind
the bar to leave you feeling totally indulged.
This decidedly unmissable celebration will take place on Friday 7, from 9.30
p.m., with music, DJs, prizes and the chance to find out that your best
friend (or your worst enemy, last year’s boy-friend, etc!) is lurking behind
that totally over-the-top mask! @Living Room bar is situated at Somphet Gold
Place, on Chaiyaphum Road, opposite Somphet Market.
Don’t Miss – Loy Krathong highlights
As if anyone could possibly miss Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai – it’s
happening everywhere! Here are some of the highlights of the planned events.
November 8 at Mae Jo University, there will be a Buddhist ceremony
and traditional dances, after which 5,000+ khom loys will be released by the
crowds of people into the early evening skies. A sight never to be
forgotten! The ceremonies should begin late in the afternoon. Everyone is
being advised to allow plenty of time to get there.
November 10 The Grand Opening of Loy Krathong will take place at the
Three Kings Monument at 6 p.m., followed by traditional and cultural stage
shows and beauty contests.
November 11 through 13 will see 3 parades. On November 11, the ‘Local
Lanterns Parade and Contest’ will take place and November 12 will see the
‘Small Krathong Parade.’ The grand finale, the ‘Giant Krathong Parade,’
happens on November 13. All parades will start from Thapae Gate at around 6
p.m. and continue down Thapae Road and along the river past the Municipal
Buildings. Each parade will last approximately 3-4 hours. Drivers should
avoid all surrounding areas from 3 p.m. onwards. Also on November 12 and 13,
during the evenings, there will be fireworks displays along the river in
front of the Municipal Building.
Holiday Inn hosts wine
tasting for Thai wines
Last week, the Holiday Inn held a special ‘Wine Dinner’ on its River
Terrace, serving Monsoon Valley Wine, a Thai wine from Siam Winery. We’ve
all heard, at dinner or in conversation, remarks about Thai wines in general
which didn’t exactly encourage consumption. Most of us know now from
experience that Thai wines, particularly from this company, are good value
and good quality!
Simon, Kim, Rudy and Luca (l/r) at the Holiday Inn’s River Terrace toasting
the success of Monsoon Valley Wines.
On this particular evening, the three wines on offer were Monsoon Red,
Shiraz, Monsoon White (a mix of Malaga Blanc and Colombard) and the
ever-popular Rose, a White Shiraz. On hand to give expert advice was Kim
Wachtveitl, Siam Winery’s director of business development, together with
the team from Horeca, the company’s major suppliers to Chiang Mai.
To go with the wines, the Holiday Inn’s chef provided delicious finger food,
including spring rolls, beef satay and cheese desserts. The service, of
course, was at its usual impeccable level.
Many of the guests commented on the quality of the wine, and were happy that
it has improved so much that it is now available in many top-class Chiang
Mai hotels and restaurants. A very pleasant evening for all the guests – and
it didn’t rain once!