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Wow lots of Chinese tourist!
Dear Emma,
I must say as a long term visitor to Chiang Mai, (I come once or twice a year for at least 3 months each time) I am amazed at the huge number of mainly young Chinese tourists! This is certainly a new development, one that business people must be applauding as they seem to be spending money as well. But I must say, I am quite surprised, what on earth has made such a radical change from last year’s high season?
I must also point out that many of these Chinese travelers seem to not only be fairly youthful but also have quite good English speaking skills. I had no idea the Chinese were such avid travelers and I do hope that we can see more of them. Although they do seem to have difficulty grasping that one does not stand in the middle of the road, even in Thailand. (Surely they don’t do this at home?) Regardless, their presence is a boon to the tourist industry here that has been sluggish for so long.
Dear Ginny,
I have had many conversations with some of the GMs of the big hotels to hear that they too are benefitting from the Chinese tourist boom this year, so it seems that we are getting all levels of tourists from China.
One factor must surely be the direct Chiang Mai- Macau flight that Air Asia instituted last year. It certainly makes it much easier not only for us to go to Macau to gamble our hard earned savings legally but it has also resulted in an influx of Chinese tourists. I hope that other airlines follow suit, I for one would love a direct Chiang Mai – Shanghai flight as I have always wanted to go there! The Chinese Consulate would certainly come in handy in that case, as we can get our visas here without having to travel to Bangkok.
Also, Emma understands that there is some very famous movie that took place in Chiang Mai and hit the screens in December and that we can expect to see ever increasing numbers of tourists because of this movie.

Is it really her brother?
Dear Emma,
I know this is such a cliché and really, I am almost embarrassed to bring it up but I have met this beautiful girl and she seems to really like me but she seems strangely close to her brother. Or at least the person she says is her brother. How can I know for sure? Is there something wrong with me for being suspicious? I really don’t know which way to jump here, what if my suspicions are groundless and I end up throwing away a wonderful girl because I can’t trust her even though she has not really done anything to earn my distrust!
Dear Befuddled,
Well, you certainly are one confused man! Emma cannot tell you which way to jump and surely you are experienced enough with women to know when a woman is having a relationship with another man? If not, then you really need to reconsider entering into serious relationship. If you don’t trust her from the very beginning what makes you think you will learn to trust her? It sounds as if it is already too late and that you have already made up your mind the girl is untrustworthy. If that is the case then do yourself and her a favour and end it now.

The haze is coming
Dear Emma,
I live out San Kamphaeng way and the burning is in earnest now. I can’t leave the area, I have a child in school that I cannot pull out because of the haze but I fear this year will be far worse. The rains were not that long nor that heavy, the cool season has not really been that cold and the dry season started early. I fear the worst. What can I do to mitigate some of the haze? I really wish the government would get off their duffs regarding this and show some willpower. There is a burning hotline but nobody answers it. Even if there were someone to answer it would they go tell the farmer to stop burning? I doubt it.
Choking already
Dear Choking,
Yes the haze here is a terrible thing and while the government says every year that it will do something very little actually seems to be accomplished. It takes political willpower to stand up to the rice farmers and force them to stop burning just as it takes political willpower to make sure that any and all fires in the forest are put out immediately. I am sure, were the Army and Air Force to coordinate with the firefighters they could put out most fires right away.
Anyway, this does not solve your problem; I understand your dilemma, and your concern. Nobody wants to breathe this and nobody wants their children’s health put at risk because of it. First off, clean the air conditioning filters now, and make sure they get cleaned regularly during the haze season. Then go to a really good pharmacy and buy some good air filter masks. Not the basic cheapies that you see, but real ones that filter out particles. Finally, consider investing in a standalone filter as well, the really good ones are fairly pricey but surely cheaper than long term health issues.