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Bonsai and orchid festival in honor of HM the Queen’s birthday

Orchids are some of the most prized flowers coming out of Chiang Mai.

The Chiang Mai Orchid Society in conjunction with the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden Garden and the Chiang Mai Bonsai Club is holding an ornamental plant and bonsai festival at Suan Buak Hat Park from August 10-14, Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn recently announced.

The Bonsai Club will also showcase their member’s elaborate plants at the festival.

The event is being held to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 79th birthday on August 12 and will showcase Thailand’s fabulous orchids and beautiful bonsais. There will be orchid and bonsai exhibitions and contests as well as plant and flower sales, and sales of food, local products, produce and farm products.

The festival will feature contests as well as flowers and plants for sale.

The beauty of Thai ornamentals is nationally and internationally known, Mayor Tussanai pointed out, and hopes that this festival, in honor of HM the Queen will not only promote Thai products but will also bring people to celebrate Her Majesty’s birthday.(Photos courtesy of Chiang Mai Municipality).

EU Ambassador David Lipman opens the EU film festival

French Honorary Consul Thomas Baude (far right) is joined by Japanese Consul General Kazuo Shibata, EU Ambassador David Lipman and a friend with Narong Kongprasert, President of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Ronnakit N-kham)

By Shana Kongmun

David Lipman, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to Thailand was in Chiang Mai on Thursday, July 21, 2011 to open the 14th annual EU Film Festival in Chiang Mai.

Muang Chiang Mai District Chief Adisorn Kamnerdsiri joins Ambassador Lipman in toasting the opening of the EU Film Festival at Kad Suan Kaew’s Vista Cinema on Thursday, July 21, 2011. (Photo by Ronnakit N-kham)

The festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year in Bangkok and 14th in Chiang Mai and has been going from strength the strength with Oscar nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop one of the highlights of the 10 day festival. Exit Through the Gift Shop is about Banksy, an internationally famous graffiti artist who guards his anonymity to avoid prosecution. His work can be seen on walls from post-hurricane New Orleans to the separation barrier on the Palestinian West Bank. An eccentric French shop keeper turned documentary maker attempts to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner.

Ambassador Lipman said of this year’s EU Film Festival, “Most of the films this year are art house movies by young, up and coming directors, directors who are unknown for now.”

He said the film festival has really taken off in Thailand with more than 5,000 people visiting the festival in Bangkok this year. He pointed out that Chiang Mai was a natural choice as a second venue for the EU Film Festival, “It’s the second city of Thailand and a cultural center with a large expat community.”

He added that he felt the EU Film Festival was a good opportunity to show the Thai community what is going on with European film. He noted the burgeoning Thai film industry that has been obtaining international recognition the past few years, including, of course, Palme D’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Ambassador Lipman said, “It’s good to show what is coming out of Europe for local film makers and film lovers.”

The EU Film Festival is offering 26 films from 16 European countries. All films will be screened in their original languages with English subtitles and entry to all films is free.

The EU Film Festival is running at Kad Suan Kaew’s Vista Cinema until the 31st of July. A full schedule of the films can be found on both the Chiang Mai Mail and on the Delegation of the EU to Thailand’s website.

EU Ambassador David Lipman discussed the EU Film Festival with Chiang Mai Mail’s Managing Editor Shana Kongmun at the opening ceremony. (Photo by Ronnakit N-kham)

Chiang Mai locals, both Thai and expat gathered at the Vista Cinema for the opening and to view the first film of the EU Film Festival; Erratum from Poland. (Photo by Ronnakit N-kham)

Chiang Mai Creative City Committee member Martin Venzky-Stalling (bottom right photo) brought CMCC stickers for everyone at the party while musicians kept the crowd entertained. (Photo by Ronnakit N-kham)

Food Festival kicks off at Central Airport Plaza

Northern Lanna food is on offer with cooking displays and contests at the Food Festival.

The Chiang Mai International Food Festival kicked off at Central Airport Plaza on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Held in conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, The Thailand Office of Tourism and Sports and the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, the event brings in cuisine from around the world.

Consul-Generals, Consuls and Honorary Consuls were welcomed by President of the Provincial Adminstration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn and Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul at the grand opening. Governor ML Panadda Diskul, who spoke in both Thai and fluent English, said he was very glad to see such an event take place in Chiang Mai, noting that it just added to the many attractions that Chiang Mai had to offer and showed the international flavor of the city.

Famous Thai chef McDaeng joined the event to offer a cooking show the first day, there was also an ice carving display and there will be ikebana flower arranging shows and cultural performances throughout the event.

Foods from Japan, Korea, China, India, the United States, France, Italy, England and more are on offer at the event that runs through Monday, July 18, 2011. Each day will feature the cuisine of a different nation, cooking shows and more. Food is available for sale and Rimping Supermarket is on hand with goods for sale as well.

More information on the schedule can be found here:

Chinese Consul General Zhu Wei Min joined the Chinese booth to show off the dumplings available for visitors.

Girls dressed in the national dress of the Republic of South Korea performed a fan dance at one of the cultural shows at the Central Airport Plaza Hall.

Japanese Consul General Kazuo Shibata and his wife wore traditional summer Japanese robes for the grand opening.

President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn (left), Dr. Chao Duangduen na Chiengmai, President of the Chiang Mai Cultural Counciland Governor ML Panadda Diskul opened the event.

Petchnoi Osathaphanof the Honorary Consulate of South Korea wore traditional Korean clothes at the Korean food booth.

Barbara Quinn and her staff at the Pub are running the English food booth at the International Food Festival.

Cooking shows are just one of the many fun activities on offer along with a lot of delicious food.

ITM expands its school and services

Chalermsak Suranont, head of the Northern TAT, listens to Managing Director for ITM Chulaluck “Kate” Setthakorn discuss their massage training techniques.

By Shana Kongmun

Chiang Mai is a very popular place for many to come and learn Traditional Thai Massage and the International Training Massage school in Chang Phuak is a good choice for those who wish to work in massage.

ITM is accredited by Thailand Ministry of Education, approved by the Ministry of Public Health and recognized and approved internationally by many professional colleges and associations for continuing education in the regulated healthcare field.

In fact, ITM is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) in the United States as a continuing education approved provider as well as by the National Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) for Continued Competency Program, the Australian Association of Massage Therapists and the Complimentary Therapists Association of the U.K.

The “international” in the name is truly international as could be seen by the number of students who came for the opening of the new building. Founded by well known massage teacher Chongkol (John) Settakorn in 1992, ITM is also celebrating their 20th anniversary.

British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson was one of the many notables who came for the opening of this well known school.

One of the massage teachers discusses some of the traditional methods to help pregnant women during pregnancy, birth and post-pregnancy.

Oasis Spa CEO Pakin Ploypicha (2nd left) greets founder Chongkol and Atchara Setthakorn and President of Chiang Mai Spa Mantra Sutthiruk (Liz) Sitthisoonthorn (far left).

Americans celebrate Independence Day

Todd Bate-Poxon representing the U.S. Consulate General (left) is joined by Creative Kingdom CEO Eduardo Robles and Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul for the American Independence Day celebrations at the Municipal stadium on July 4, 2011.

By Shana Kongmun

Although the day started with the threat of rain the clouds cleared and the sun came out in time for the big American Independence Day Party organized by Creative Kingdom and held at the Municipal Stadium on Monday, July 4, 2011. U.S. Consul General Susan Stevenson was on leave so Todd Bate-Poxon stood in her stead alongside Chiang Mai Governor M.L. Panadda Diskul who joined the festivities to hear Leona Moss and her daughter sing the national anthem and wish everyone a Happy Independence Day.

The Governor talked about the long and friendly relationship between the United States and Thailand and said he was sure this relationship would continue to grow in strength. He added that he would like to be able to help those who have made Chiang Mai their home if they needed. Todd Bate-Poxon took the podium to offer the Consulate’s good wishes and to thank sponsors and organizers Creative Kingdom for the difficult task of organizing the event. And with that, the music, fun and games continued.

Food on offer by Miguel’s in Nong Hoi, the Dukes and the Steak House kept everyone well fed, and drinks were available at reasonable prices. Even though a Monday, the event saw the crowds swell in the late afternoon and early evening and the fireworks show was enjoyed by all.

Fun and games were the order of the day for kids of all sizes.

Tacos by Miguel’s of Nong Hoi, burgers by the Dukes, and sausages by The Steak House were just some of the delicious food the partygoers enjoyed.

Families turned out for the day, with the kids really enjoying the fun.

Adults enjoyed the picnic atmosphere too,
with a few even taking part in the sack race.

The day closed with a traditional Independence Day fireworks show.

Freight traveling at Chiang Mai Friends

Eveline Willi talks about their trip from Hamburg through the Suez Canal and onto Hong Kong via container freighter.

By Shana Kongmun

The Chiang Mai Friends met at the Tamarind Village Resort on Wednesday, June 27 for their monthly meeting where Heinz and Eveline Willi kept the crowd entertained with their most interesting travel stories.

However, first Khun Samran, a judge with the Appellate Court joined the Friends for the first time that evening saying that he was happy to join as he wanted to promote friendship in Chiang Mai. Other new members introduced themselves including a South African couple, retired Australian teacher and others.

Despite some computer issues, Eveline’s narrative was informative and interesting. She said they decided they wanted to transition to living in Asia and thought maybe a shipboard trip might make the process more interesting. The traveled from their home country of Switzerland to Hamburg in Germany where they boarded the Ever Conquest, an enormous container ship 345 meters long, 42 meters long and when fully loaded can carry 8,200 containers.

The ship has 7 officers and 20 crew, with the officers mainly from Europe and the crew all from the Philippines. Eveline pointed out that things generally remained more harmonious when the crew is all the same nationality. She said the trip from Hamburg, through the Suez Canal, past Singapore and on to Hong Kong took 25 days, noting that while normally the ship will stop in various ports of call, this time it was straight through.

“We will do it again,” Eveline said, “but not straight through again. It was very long.” And while there was no internet on board, the ship did have satellite phones so they could call home from time to time.

She showed pictures of a spacious cabin of 40 sqm, with their own desk area and bathroom. She said not only were there laundry facilities, but a fitness center, swimming pool and basketball court. They ate with the crew and had to do their own laundry.

She said they got to go down to the engine room just once and it was so loud they had to wear noise cancelling headphones. In addition to the main engine there are 5 emergency engines at 17,500 hp each. Going at 25 knots or 47 km/hr the engines use 300 tons of fuel a day but if they go a bit slower, at 39 km/hr it used 137 tons of fuel.

They also got to go up to the bridge where they saw the navigators plot the course manually every hour in case the electronic systems went down they would know where they were. She said they painted every day of the trip, rust being a major issue on the journey, they were continually painting. And, because it was continuous, there was never a wet paint sign, you just had to watch out, she said.

The trip through the Suez was interesting, its so narrow that the ships have to travel one way in a convoy and wait in the lake in the middle and at the entrances before they can go.

She said, they were allowed unlimited luggage but because they had to be able to get it off themselves, they limited themselves to 60 kilos each. And, she said, they got lucky when they disembarked in Hong Kong as there was a car nearby they could flag to carry their bags but they saw other travelers carrying their own bags.

They learned about the option of traveling by a freighter from a German website but Eveline said, if you google you can find them in English too. They paid 95 Euro each per night including all food. She said, in the whole trip they spent only about 120 Euro, including the phone calls back home.

Eveline did warn that the ship can really roll as they don’t have stabilizers so if you get seasick like one of their fellow travelers it may not be the most enjoyable experience.

The group thoroughly enjoyed their story and look forward to the next Chiang Mai Friends meeting on July 27 when the Deputy Mayor of Chiang Mai will join them at the Rim Hotel.

Boong is joined by Randi Egan of Miguels in Nong Hoi who announced the upcoming American Independence Day on July 4 at the Municipal Stadium and LiLi Tan who mentioned the Dhamma talk by British monk Ajarn Jayasaro at Panyaden School today.

Cris and Bob made new friends at the Friends Meeting.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Bonsai and orchid festival in honor of HM the Queen’s birthday

EU Ambassador David Lipman opens the EU film festival

Food Festival kicks off at Central Airport Plaza

ITM expands its school and services

Americans celebrate Independence Day

Freight traveling at Chiang Mai Friends