Thursday in Chiang Mai 2/15/2007


Greetings from northern Thailand!

A full day, though I didnít exactly do any sightseeing. I was definitely not happy with my hotel, so this morning I changed, on Anneís excellent suggestion, to the Central Duangtawan Hotel, a world of difference! Beautiful hotel, attractive large room, including a huge bathroom and a sitting area, with no hint of smoke odor, even comfortable beds, and still quite moderately priced (only about $50 per night including breakfast). I am so glad I didnít put up with the other hotel! Thank you Anne for the great suggestion!

Spent the daytime hours at Payap University. Had the morning free to get in some solid practicing Ė on a good new Yamaha upright in their preparatory school, which has better facilities and instruments than the music department! But I must say, the campus area is charming, a cluster of small buildings with courtyards, fountains and ponds in between, and rambling paths connecting them. A bit dry right now, since we have passed the cool season and havenít yet reached the rainy season, but still nice, relaxed and comfortable. At noon I gave a lecture on Piano Music of the Americas to students, primarily composition but others were there as well as some of the music faculty. Had to use a translator, so I had to simplify the talk, but I think they still learned a lot. Certainly they met some previously unfamiliar composers.

Then lunch with Bennett (my local contact) at the campus outdoor lunch area, tasty fried rice with pork, and some chicken sausage kabobs, Iíd call them. More practice time in the afternoon, then a lecture and brief masterclass on pedaling for the piano students. Again, I had to simplify a lot because of the need for translation time, but I think it was still quite worthwhile. The piano faculty seemed very happy with it. Good students who played. Sat in on part of a student area recital right after my presentation; they have mostly piano and guitar majors, an unexpected combination!

I had dinner with Bennett and two of his friends, one an American who lives in Japan and is visiting, the other an American who has lived here for many years. Interesting conversation. We ate at a lovely riverside restaurant Ė Italian by their choosing, quite good food. I must admit, it was nice to have some cheese for a change. Thatís about the only thing I miss when eating Asian food. It was a beautiful evening, we watched the sun set over the river (a quiet river, no motor boats like in Bangkok), the weather is mild and not too humid up here in the hills of the Northern part of the country. I donít think I mentioned that last night Ė it was lovely to come into Chiang Mai airport and see hills along the horizon. Iím looking forward to getting up into the hills on Saturday, when I have the day free.

Anyway, after a leisurely dinner, Bennett and I stopped by my hotel so I could dump all my work stuff (laptop, piano music, etc.) and then he introduced me to the Night Market here, which happens to start right across the street from the hotel. Much more rewarding here than in Malaysia, there is a great deal of handcrafted items here, silks, cotton weaving, embroidery, silver, wood products, etc. It was fun to look, and to buy a few things. I will probably want to go back another evening (maybe tomorrow night after my recital, weíll see!)

Love to all,

Carlyn

Last updated 12/07. Copyright 2007 by Richard C. Morenus. Questions? Send email to richard.c@morenus.org