by Dr. Iain Corness
One, almost mandatory purchase for everyone newly arrived on the Eastern Seaboard is the excellent publication “Living in Pattaya and Rayong”. This is a very special book in many ways, much more than one would glean from the title.
Published by the Pattaya International Ladies Club (PILC), it is promoted as “a guide to help you live and settle in the Eastern Seaboard.” Now in its fourth edition, the updated manual for living here has been expanded, updated and refined, under the editorship of the PILC’s Emma Malone. There is a very clear “Contents” section at the front of the book, with an excellent cross-referencing index at the back. Be it Bicycles to Video Rental, Shuttle busses to Bakeries, this book really has it all.
However, it is much more than a sort of local “Yellow Pages”. There are helpful hints on what to do (or not to do) for all “newbies”, and for that matter, there are items of interest for even the old hands.
What makes this publication even more noteworthy is that it is compiled by voluntary labour, through the PILC, and local businesses sponsor the guide to cover its printing costs. The proceeds from the sales of the books are then used totally for charity, and it is hoped that this edition will bring in around one million baht. Amongst those who will benefit are the Redemptorist Center for the Handicapped and the Camillian Center in Rayong, where the PILC help to supply medicine for the children with HIV that are looked after there.
Editor Emma Malone with children at the Camillian Center
The book is professionally edited and produced and is a tribute to Editor Emma and her band of volunteers (almost 50). Emma wrote of her experiences in production of the book, and her comments are worth reading.
Emma’s words, “I was the Editor for this new addition. After two years of hard work, I have to say it is the single most tiring, frustrating, inspirational and wonderful thing I have ever done. It is the thing I am most proud of because I can say that while I stayed in Thailand, I actually made a difference. I now know that this project was bigger than myself, bigger than all of us that worked on it, because in the end it is ultimately done out of love. This is what makes this project so special. So when you buy this book, use it for all the information but when you look at it, think to yourself that by just buying this book you helped send a handicapped person to school and helped supply medicine to a small child dying from AIDS. Because ultimately, that is the most important reason for buying this book. So to all of you who gave your time to help with this guide, Thank you. To all of you who will buy this guide, Thank you too!”
While Emma’s words ring with the passion of someone who made the publication her reason for being for two years, I too, would urge you to buy this book for all of those reasons. You will not regret the purchase.
D&M Music Studio in collaboration with Italian Embassy and Bangkok Guitar Society proudly present a solo guitar concert by Alessio Monti, a great guitarist and composer of rare distinction who is also a national treasure of Italy and possibly one of the world’s most interesting and accomplished guitarists (Larry Cooperman, President of New Millennium Guitar Publication). The programmes will include works by Brouwer, Villa Lobos, Albeniz, Pipo, Turina and his own compositions.
The concert will be held on Saturday, May 6th, 2000 at 8.00 p.m. at Thai-German Cultural Foundation Auditorium on South Sathorn Soi 1. Tickets are priced at 300 baht and 150 baht for students.
Tickets are available at: D&M Music Studio Tel. 391-7429, Thai-German Cultural Foundation Tel. 287-2822, Asia Books Sukhumvit Tel. 252-4373.
Alessio Monti, guitarist and composer, completed his formal studies in music at the L. Cherubini Conservatory of Florence, obtaining the diploma with the highest marks and honor. Extensive touring of the Orient has greatly influenced Alessio’s style and his research of Eastern philosophy leaves an indelible mark on the composer’s consciousness and music explorations. His style is extremely innovative and will be of great interest to lovers of many genres, from minimalist to jazz, to Eastern and Western classical traditions.
Alessio has truly penetrated a creative space within himself that reframes what can be done with guitar. At present, Alessio is involved in intense artistic activity, participating in the most noteworthy international orchestras and festivals throughout Europe Asia, Africa and the Americas, with rave reviews from audience and press alike. Alessio’s ingenuity has him in high demand for teaching master classes, workshops and conferences abroad and in his native Italy. The compositions on Alessio’s six CDs feature sitar, flute, clarinet, soprano sax, violin viola, violoncello, contrabass, percussion and electronic devices as well as solo guitar. His work has been described as “appealing to the mind as well as the senses”.
His biography with his works of and his recording are now included in the “Encyclopedia of the contemporary composers”, edited in Italy by Pagano Editore. He is promoter and artistic director of “Tuscan Guitaristic Center”, which yearly organizes a guitar competition for performers and composers. He is endorser of a special line of Italian classical guitar strings. Monti has recorded for the RAI, Italian Radio and Television Network, various international radio networks, and for the recording companies Barben, Edipan, and Musicaimmagine.
Story and Photos by Tony Malhotra
When the Pattaya Mail Team learned that the Horse Shoe Point Resort was going to hold a polo match, nothing could stop us from watching it. It would also give us a chance to take a look at the resort, which is still under construction.
Body-touch (or: where is the dam’ ball?)
As soon as we arrived, the assistant project coordinator, Ms. Ubolrat Pacharawan, showed us around the 5,000 rai private property, of which only 300 rai are in use right now. The owner, Mr. Chaikiri Srifuengfung, recently opened it for members, and keeps their horses, along with the 70 horses he owns himself, in a so-called “Horse-Hotel”; 110 big, very clean and adequate stables. To keep the horses in shape and healthy, a “Horsepital” with 3 vets has been set up on the premises.
Chaikiri, a man who loves horses more than anything else, told me that the reason he is building such a great place in Pattaya and not in Bangkok was because, “Pattaya, besides all the changes it has already undergone, still has a bad image. I want to help wipe out that bad reputation. Having a place such as this in Pattaya will surely attract many people and as soon as they are here, they will find out for themselves that Pattaya isn’t such a bad place after all. So, whatever will become of our place, it should help bring back fame to Pattaya as well.”
Ready for the game to begin
Driving along beside the huge birdcages and an open zoo, we finally arrived at the field where the polo match was to be held. Graeme Mathieson, Managing Director of Nichida Polo Club, had brought 12 horses from Bangkok for a friendly game between the “green” and the “red” team. While the polo players got ready, Ms. Chanya “Cherie” Srifuengfung, Chaikiri’s daughter, told us that there are four players per team, but since two people couldn’t make it, they would only use three players in each team. She also explained that each of the players has at least 1 - 2 horses on standby, since a horse has to be changed as soon as the rider scores. Believe me, at the speed the horses are going, they need some rest in-between the four, 7 minute quarters that make up a match.
Eric Barthe, Robert Mullis, owner of Mullis Investment Capital, and Graeme himself joined the green team, while the players of the red team were made up of Harald Link, MD of B. Grimm, Khun Vichai, owner of King Power, and Gustavo Yanez, a professional polo player from Argentina. We saw only a friendly game, yet it was still exciting, fast and full of life!
We agree with Mr. Chaikiri when he says, “If somebody loves the beach - he will go to Pattaya. If somebody loves horses, he must come to this place”.
The Horse Shoe Point & Riding Club will have its soft opening in the middle of this year and the grand opening will take place near the end of 2000. We will definitely keep our readers informed about it, since this will be a very unique place in Pattaya.
Invited by Ms. Pornpimol Amarapal, the sales manager of KN Travel, a few journalists met on April 9th at her office in Laem Chabang, to join a Weekend Getaway Cruise on the Superstar Aries of the Star Cruise Line. Our destination was to be Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam.
The team of journalists found a friend aboard, Ms. Nittaya. (L to R) Ms. Pornpimol Amarapal of KN Travel, Ms. Nittaya Patimasonokhor, president of Lions Club Pratamnak, Elfi Seitz of Pattaya Mail, Stefan Matter of Der Farang, Virat Kijsom of Daily News, and Ms. Metha Nareekam of Star Cruise.
We began to receive first class treatment the moment we stepped inside the Star Cruises office at the harbor. First, we were comfortably placed in the VIP lounge while Star Cruise staff members took care of our paperwork. As it turned out, one person in our group had forgotten to get a re-entry visa, but the friendly staff solved the problem. Nothing was too much for them. They hurriedly drove him to the Immigration office in Sriracha where the officer there, even though the office was already closed, was happy to help. Our colleague made it back to the ship just in time.
Even from a distance we could see where the huge Super Star Aries was docked. It was a great sight, that majestic ship. It dwarfed everything around it whilst waiting to take in the passengers who excitedly filled the air with their chitchat.
The Superstar Aries was once named the ‘Europe’ and was only re-named in November last year. It is truly a magnificent vessel. 200m long, 28.5m wide and a gross tonnage of 37,000; it contains 339 cabins for 700 passengers. 18 years old, the ‘Europe’ was sold in 1997 to Harpag Lloyd. After a complete renovation, it became the No. 1 Cruise Ship worldwide. When Star Cruises, the leading cruise line in Asia-Pacific and one of the 5 largest in the world, bought the ‘Europe’ two years later, they spent another 22 million dollars to overhaul and renovate it in Hamburg, Germany.
One of the outdoor pools.
Embarking the ship at approximately 16:00 hours, the passengers were welcomed by a Filipino music group. Bellboys, already waiting at the stairs, picked up the luggage and brought us immediately to our cabins. It was a surprise for all of us to find out how big and comfortable the Inside Staterooms are. They are the same size, 21sq. m, as the Ocean View Stateroom with window. Only the few executive suites are bigger, at 42sq. m. They have thick carpets on the floor, a small sitting area, two closets and drawers, two very comfortable beds and lots of soft lamps giving these cabins a homely and cozy atmosphere. The bathroom is big enough for two and filled with all necessary equipment, be it creams, toothpaste or hairdryer.
Since we were on board quite early, we had enough time to make an excursion trough the ship’s 12 decks before its departure at 20:30. It was like walking around an elegant, five-star hotel, with a big reception, a library with international lecture, 9 restaurants and bars, boutiques, photo gallery and, of course, a duty free shop. The fitness and sports areas include 2 outdoor and 1 indoor swimming pool, table tennis, shuffle-board, a Spa & Health Center, solarium, relaxation rooms and a fitness center, plus several sunbathing chairs on the Panorama Deck.
At 6:00 p.m. our group met for the first dinner aboard, at the very elegantly set Grand Restaurant. A delicious buffet was served by the friendliest staff one can imagine. Most of them are Filipinos, yet one can also find many Thais, like Ms. Metha Nareekam, the Marketing Executive, who took very good care of us. Even Farangs are present amongst the normal staff, and not only at the executive level, like Captain Kjell Holme, who is from Finland. Or the Cruise Director, Jonathan Neal, who is from the UK and, after 18 years of experience at sea, has been with Star Cruise for more than 2 years.
Jonathan was the most visible and visited person aboard, and told us a lot about the ship. “The safety, health and well-being of cruise passengers are Star Cruise’s top priorities,” he said. “Star Cruise is one of the first cruise lines to be certified for the ISM (International Safety Management) Code in 1998 as directed by the IMO (International Maritime Organization), having its young and modern fleet equipped with the latest in navigation control and fire systems. It has implemented extensive safety features such as HI-Fog sprinklers, even in the engine rooms.”
At the Lido Deck.
We also learned that there are 570 crewmembers on board to take care of the passengers. That includes the entertainment department, with Jonathan, besides his other duties, performing every evening as a Magician. Surely enough, we looked forward to seeing the entertainment program at the ‘Europe Lounge’. It was a big surprise when one of Thailand’s Superstars, Ford Sobchai, much to the delight of all the women, appeared on stage at this cruise’s special weekend performance. The Belle Duval Dancers of Simon Duval were definitely something for the taste of all the male guests. Sexy Farang girls in even sexier costumes performed two 30 minute shows, worth being featured at Paris’ Lido. Even though a disco night was announced, most of the guests disappeared right after the show in one of the four casino type clubs. All of them were crowded all night - and almost all day long with adventurous and daring people, ready to win the world. In the meantime, the youngsters who joined this cruise were very well taken care of by staff members, involving the kids in parties and games.
Normally, the next day’s programme would have been to go ashore at Phu Quoc Island, but due to minor technical problems, we arrived late at night and were not allowed to leave the ship.
Other than this rather small set back, the cruise was exciting and fun, with much too much to eat yet still totally relaxing. We arrived back in Laem Chabang Port on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. after spending another very enjoyable night on board. After disembarking the ship and slowly driving away from it, we all looked back and hoped that soon we will be able to go on another cruise with Star Cruise.
Sales and Booking agents for Star Cruise are: KN Travel
in Pattaya, Tel. 038-429134, 429771, 429150, and KN Travel in Laem Chabang,
2-day cruise app. 8,000 - 10,000 baht
5-day cruise app. 10,000 - 12,000 baht
7-day cruise app. 14,000 - 16,000 baht
Copyright 2000 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.