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Around Chiang Rai: What’s up doc ??

Around Chiang Rai: What’s up doc ??

You can read this post in : French

Arrived in Chiang Rai on February 28th, in evening, a northen city, near the  Burma and Laos borders, I’m immediately surprised by the cool temperature of 32 ° which reigns there, a nice gap with the 38 ° in Bangkok just one hour before, anyway, it’s not a real thermal shock …

The veterinarian Prapatsaraporn (nickname Bum, it can helps sometimes), greets me at the airport, a jump in his pickup to find a simple and pleasant lodge, not too far from downtown. Bum is a 32 year old woman, now she stops curing elephants and turtles, and start to act in social activities: an office to assist the farmers in distress, banks are now considerably richer and also more stingy in Thailand, farmers are actually lacking of socials financing and many are in dire straits. As you can see on the photos, Bum’s coworkers is a friendly young team, the atmosphere in the office is totally cool.

Her second job, is to monitor and support the operation of an ecological girl school, the Monsaengdao Aced Thai, (here is the facebook profile), about fifty kilometers from Chiang Rai. These girls are mostly abandoned by their parents, sometimes sold for prostitution.This school, in deep countryside, is a simple structure, consisting of several wooden buildings, it provides artistic and social education: cooking, painting (see photos), pottery, music and organic agriculture. People who wants to act and work with them in Thailand, can contact them!

Bum will abandon her  job for almost six days, to drive me in discovering the city and the surrounding region. A small jump in Mae Sai to walk one hour in Burma, the visit of the beautiful Mae Fa Luang garden, the amazing white temple of Wat Rong Khun, and a long drive in the Fu Chi Fa forest, a wonderful mountain road surrounded by blossoming trees, leading to a rocky promontory overlooking the Burmese and Laotian plains. Unfortunately the dry season is not favorable for photography in the area, a misty veil  covers the landscape night and day.

Friday , there was a diner hosted by the new office boss: a table overflowing with delicious food, I’ve eaten alive shrimps for the first time in my life, now i feel better!! A waiter was filling the beer glasses just before the last sip consumed, the whole team was joyful and funny, I was the only farang there, this whole week was a 100% Thai one, so delightful time with such pleasant people, thank you so much, Doctor!

My Chiang Mai visit will end with the meeting of the ancient Bum’s boss, Amon,; he asks me to cooperate in the creation of a short film about the farmers situation, a very clever man. The project is in progress, but requires a lot of work and I must return in Thailand to achieve it. In return, Amon can open me many photoraphy doors in the Thai farming world, really a great opportunity! Alas, Bum informed me in July 2012, the sudden death of Amon… a heart attack, big deception and a considerable loss for the Thai farmers.

The Saturday evening in Chiang Rai, it’s time for the week-end market and to dance:

Arrived in Chiang Mai since yesterday evening (Sunday), I ‘m waiting the arrival of Pim, a nurse from Uttaradit, city 340 km south, to attend the Thai traditional wedding of her cousin.

Celine was writing me last week “Next time you will meet “Poum”, the names of your Thai friends look like cartoon characters”. In fact, the parents give these nicknames at birth, it’s an old superstition in Thailand: the nickname is given to avoid the bad spirits to be attracted by the baby, spirits like beautiful things, so, most of the times, these nicknames mean cute things!! In the other side, the real names, mean not so beautiful things, so the spirits are confused!!! Anyway, I thank this belief very deeply, I did not have the courage to write “Prapatsaraporn” more than two times in this post…

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Around Chiang Rai: What’s up doc ??

par Stéphane Bidouze time to read: 4 min