Here are some shots we took on our last visit to Nan. This was a side trip to the “Unseen” village of the Mlabri nomadic tribes people or “Yellow Leaf” . They are found only in the northern provinces of Nan and Phrae. A total of 145 now live in the village we visited – Ban Huay Yauk.
Their actual name is Phi Tong Lueang – which translates to “spirits of the yellow banana leaf” because they use banana leaves to cover their shelters and when the leaves turn yellow they move to new sites for their hunter-gathering existence. They don’t like to be called spirits but they do like yellow-leaf, but more important to them is that they like pig meat. We gave the “headsman” money so we could take some pictures and I am sure the whole tribe celebrated with a full-course pig dinner.
Over the years the encroachment by agriculture and logging has destroyed much of the forest that is their natural habitat. Now they have been forced to work in the fields of other hill-tribes in exchange for daily food and old clothes. Their nomadic life style is over.
Mlabri, meaning “forest people” in the tribe’s language, are a ethnic group of people from early Thailand and Laos. The men used to wear only loin-cloth as demonstrated by the Headsman in the picture with me – he was very happy to show us how they lived and invited us in to see his home.
We bought some hand carved pipes and the next time we go back to visit we will bring the tribe a small pig they can raise for future food. Money meant nothing to them except that with it they could send someone to town and buy food and used clothes – I am glad we could help.
The community is slated to be promoted as a cultural tourism site in the province and Public Health officers have been dispatched to take care of their needs. They have also been taught how to raise livestock, jungle fowl, pigs and cattle – It’s a shame their natural way of life is gone – but I suppose all peoples want to develop and enjoy the safety and good health of modern life and the project aims to provide assistance to the poverty-stricken and malnourished tribes people.
This will be the last video post for a while – it’s a long one and will take a long time to load so bear with us.
Next Tue there will be a LadyBoy contest at the Night Bazaar and we will get video and stills – stay tuned for some great shots and LADYBOYS. a third gender here in Thailand.
When Tin & Dana and later John & Roy visited us we took them to see Simon’s Cabaret. Here is a snippet of the final curtain call from one of last year performances – It’s hard to believe that there is NOT a natural girl in the cast.
When you come to Thailand, make sure that you don’t miss Simon’s of Chiang Mai – you won’t be disappointed. It’s a 1 1/2 hour show that will amaze you – we have been several times and each time there is completely different show – unique and reasonable 400 Baht or $12.50 each — try and find that elsewhere – and of course your Thai friend will get in for 150 Baht or $4.00 – what a inexpensive evening.
Continuing with some videos – here is one we got when Tin and Dana visited us last year. We went to the Lampang Elephant Camp and Hospital and part of the show consisted of this elephant painting – Tin liked the picture so well he bought it before we left. You can see Tin in the video – he’s the one with the white tee shirt with the brown stripes – sorry he wasn’t more in the video but I know he will recognize the scene.
We just got back from a great dinner at a new restaurant in Chiang Mai. The “Spirit House” Owners, Wanchai & Steve just opened it and we went there tonight for dinner. The Spirit House is a garden restaurant that surrounds a ancient Chedi. The bar area has classical music, antiques and a art gallery. Entertainment consists of classical concerts, opera and ballet DVD’s. They fly the rainbow flag and have sufficient space for large parties.
We had several dishes, steamed rice, pork & kale, sweet and sour chicken, asparagus with shrimp, shrimp cocktail and Thai salad with soft drinks – total bill 450 Baht = $11 US Not bad for a full dinner for two – excellent taste, no MSG (that’s my real dread in most of the local shops), and large servings so we couldn’t eat it all and had to leave a lot – too much for us.
When you come to Chiang Mai be sure and stop by. They are going to have a web site in the near future and I will put a link to it here on our blog.
We are planning on visiting more local venues and report about them in the blog – I would want to develop a list of the best places to eat, stay and find entertainment in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and surrounding area and post it here so when someone comes for a visit they will be assured that they will fully enjoy themselves without the worry of being ripped off.