Chiang Mai Revisited

The Spirit House Singers madrigal concert

Our flight to Chiang Mai, from Norwich via Amsterdam and Bangkok, was very pleasant. From Amsterdam, we flew China Air. The plane was only half full, so we got to spread out on the seats, making the flight far more enjoyable than it normally is. The last time we flew this route, we travelled with British Airways; by the time we arrived in London, from Bangkok, the plane resembled a travelling slum with disgusting loos and litter everywhere. Not so this flight! On our China Air flight, the loos were continually being cleaned and all refuse was taken away as soon as the crew could see that we were finished with it. We were very impressed. We are actually looking forward to our flight home.

As soon as we arrived, I was up and running. We arrived early on Thursday morning, I was allowed to rest for that day; on Friday we had a rehearsal for the Spirit House Singers madrigal concert; on both Saturday and Sunday, we had concerts to perform - one in The Spirit House Restaurant (with a free buffet supper - see photo) and the other in the Chiang Mai University Art Gallery. We also had a whole afternoon rehearsal for another concert, by the Chiang Mai Choral Society International, on Saturday when we sang Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury, followed by a selection of more popular music.

Chiang Khong, on the border with Laos

n addition to all these music rehearsals, Glynn had to renew his visa; so, last Monday, we headed to Chiang Khong, on the border with Laos (see photo of Glynn at the gateway to Indo-China), and returned on Tuesday. Now all our concerts are over. We only have one more engagement and that is a workshop for Renaissance Music to be held at the Lanna International School on Wednesday of this week.

Breakfast in Chiang Khong, overlooking the Mekong River 
(If you enlarge the photo, you can see the blue roof of the Laotian 
customs post across the river - labelled)

While Glynn and I were busy with all
these music engagements, David flew to Zimbabwe, upon our return from Glynn's border run, for the funeral of his sister, Sheelagh. Unfortunately, because of the difficulty of ferrying people around (lack of fuel) and housing people (lack of food and power), the number of family attending from outside the country was limited, so I was unable to go. However, the people of Mutare gave Sheelagh a magnificent send off. David said he was very moved by the tremendous support, especially by the MDC, and most notably by the large group of African women who defiantly wore their MDC t-shirts and sang beautifully and harmoniously as part of the ceremony. (NOTE: As these women were leaving the funeral, some of them were arrested by the police and accused of attending an illegal political gathering! Brian quickly rallied his lawyer and went to the police station to get them released. Remember, this is like the Labour party in Britain having members of the Conservative party arrested for trying to oppose them in an election!) David will be back on Thursday, having managed to fit in a quick visit to Jane and family.

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