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CMF’s day out at Ban Papai

Xanadu restaurant opens in Grand Hillside 5

New project gives mahouts basic elephant first aid boxes

New-style coffee shop for Chiang Mai

CMF’s day out at Ban Papai

Elena Edwards
Earlier this month, a visit was arranged by Chiang Mai Friends group to Ban Papai, the self-sufficiency village located in beautiful countryside a short drive from Doi Saket. The village has, for the last year, been a focus for Green Chiang Mai’s tree-planting project; many more saplings for planting were awaiting the arrival of the group, their friends, and a bus-load of youngsters from Prem International School.

Trees chosen, it was off to find the right spot to plant them.
On arrival, we were greeted by Duenpen Chaladlam, CMF’s president and friend to us all, and a large number of villagers, in whose gardens the trees were to be planted as a sign of friendship between Thais and expats, with the agreement that the owners would look after the trees for us, and replace them if they died. For those of us making our first visit to Ban Papai, Duenpen explained that village life was based on self-sufficiency, in that residents were committed to recycling, composting, organic planting, re-using waste to make saleable produce, and the forbidding of burning. A homestay project for visitors provides extra income, and the entire village is a part of the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) scheme.
After Duenpen’s introduction, cards with the group’s names were given out to the villagers, to determine which garden would receive a tree from which visitor. After we’d introduced out selves, we rushed to choose our trees, varying from fruit trees through coconut palms to rubber trees. The village homes are spread out along a beautiful valley, with lakes and rivers, a wonderful setting. But a long walk for farangs clutching trees. Consequently, we were happily transported to the planting sites in cars, trucks, sidecars, motorcycles and even bicycles by laughing people.

Once planted the trees will be tended to by the local villagers.
After we’d planted our trees, we returned to the centre of the village, and had time to look around before lunch. Several of us were lucky enough to end up at a smallholding owned and run by an ex-local businessman and his family…an amazing example of total interdependency and organic husbandry. The smallholding provides both an income for the family and food…spaced out in the area behind the house were large concrete pens full of frogs, ponds crammed with catfish, pens holding pigs (including pregnant females and piglets), boars, chickens and a paddock with cows. Organic vegetables and fruit are also grown.

An amazing irrigation system provides water to the village year round.
The logic and simplicity is stunning…the pig waste and frog waste is fed to the catfish, who keep the water in their ponds fresh; the muddy water from the fish ponds is used to fertilise the organically grown vegetables. Traditional, and highly successful. There are huge trees everywhere on the smallholding…everything is hand and home-made with an eye to environmental impact. Even the recently-constructed large concrete water tanks are shaped as huge tree-trunks. And the trees which were planted by the CMF group member were rubber trees. When fully grown, they will provide another source of income as well as shade. We farangs often note, here in Chiang Mai, imported ideas from the West. Perhaps we should be looking in the reverse direction, and noting traditional ways used here for centuries.
Somewhat reluctantly, and promising to return, we left the smallholding, as lunch had been prepared for everyone. Totally organic and delicious, green curry, fresh vegetables lightly braised, soup, noodles and huge quantities of rice, eaten by the side of the main canal. Afterwards, we walked along the canal, and out into the countryside. Peace, quiet and an amazing irrigation system consisting of a huge canal and lake feeding numerous klongs, ensuring that Ban Papai remains self-sufficient even in the driest season.

 

Xanadu restaurant opens in Grand Hillside 5

Wachara Tantranont, owner of the new ‘restaurant with a view,’
receives a beautiful bouquet at its opening on April 10.

Andy Archer
A new restaurant in a very well known condo block celebrated its opening on April 10. The Xanadu is situated in the 17th floor rooftop area of the Hillside 5 condo building, adjoining Hillside 4 on Huey Kaew Road, with stunning views to the west across town towards Doi Suthep and the surrounding mountains. Hillside 5 is at present being renovated, and will be reopened on completion as the Grand Heritage Hotel.
For the restaurant’s opening, invited guests included residents of Hillside 4, friends of the owner, Wachara Tantranont, and selected media representatives. The Xanadu will specialise in Italian and French cuisine with a side menu of Thai and German dishes, and will feature two bands playing live ‘golden oldie’ music nightly.


New project gives mahouts basic elephant first aid boxes

Dr. Pornsawan Pongsopawijit, from CMU’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, (2nd left) shown witnessing the donation on April 14 of 10,000 baht from DTAC’s assistant vice-president, Sutirapan Sakkawatra to Anchalee Kalmapijit, (3rd left), the president of the Hug Elephant Club.

Andy Archer
Anchalee Kalmapijit, president of the Hug Elephant Club, was on hand April 14 to receive a welcome donation of 10,000 baht from DTAC’s assistant vice-president, Sutirapan Sakkawatra, for the benefit of her new Elephant First Aid and Medicine Box project.
The number of Asian elephants in Thailand, both in the wild and in captivity, has declined during the last 20 years by an average of 3% annually, with less than 5,000 remaining in Thailand at the present time. Due to the scattered nature of the elephant population across the kingdom, the urgent treatment of disease is a major problem, as only one major elephant veterinary centre, the Elephant Hospital in Lampang, has been provided by the Thai government. Private donations help support the facility, ensuring that treatment is free; however, transportation of a sick or injured elephant over distance is a very expensive and beyond the means of mahouts. Even minor injuries can escalate if prompt treatment is not received.
The Elephant First Aid and Medicine Box project aims to provide mahouts with free basic medical essentials such as antiseptic for cleaning wounds, antibiotic eye ointment for controlling and curing infections, anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce pain, etc. The Hug Elephant Club will work with the Mobile Elephant Clinic project on providing the first aid boxes to mahouts during the clinic’s travels around the kingdom.
The Hug Elephant Club was founded by Anchalee and a small group of supporters in 2006, motivated by concern at the falling numbers of elephants in Thailand. Its members campaign for elephant conservation by providing knowledge about dietary requirements and other aspects of elephant care; by cooperating with elephant camp businesses in organising camp management and first aid courses; by organising elephant-related activities such as the Elephant Art Project; by supporting the Mobile Elephant Clinics; by fund-raising for the successful Artificial Insemination with Frozen Sperm project; by spreading information and knowledge about elephants and their care; and by cooperation with both domestic and international elephant conservation organisations.
The club is requesting donations in support of the Medicine Box project; these can be made through Kasikorn Bank’s Suthep Chiang Mai branch to the Hug Elephant Club’s savings account, number 471-2-26088-8, swift code KASITHBK.


New-style coffee shop for Chiang Mai

The new-style Mokador coffee shop, pictured on its opening day.

Andy Archer
A new style of coffee shop recently opened opposite Wat Phra Singh, as part of the Mokador chain, which bases its reputation for delicious coffee on Italy’s premier Arabica bean, grown in South America and marketed worldwide. The Mokador chain was started by Domenico Castellari in 1967, and presently has outlets in Pattaya, Bangkok and Phuket, with planned expansion to Udon Thani and Hua Hin. Chiang Mai’s Mokador has 40 covers, 20 of which are in the air-conditioned interior, and boasts its own bakery, ensuring delicious desserts to accompany the various varieties of coffee.