Returning To Oz

I am returning o Oz earlier than originally planned and will leave Chiang Mai on Monday.

I have developed  a SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) on the back of my scalp which requires surgery.

Because I have atrial fibrilation and take warfarin it will not be straight forward. As well I am an insulin dependent diabetic. Surgery will involve skin grafts.

I am optomistic of a favourable result and hope to return to Thailand on 29th April. The surgeon will be Dr David Campbell who has treated me before.


The 151st Debussy’s Anniversary

Following the success of last year’s 150th Debussey anniversary concert,  Dr.Eri Nakagawa’s Studio from The College of Mahidol University, presented a Piano  Concert entitled The 151st Debussy’s Anniversary at the CRK Recital Hall, Payap University Kaew Narawat campus.

.It was publised as “an atmospheric evening of French piano music with scenic films and animations”, because eadh item included a video chosen by the student. Personally I thought this distracted from the piano performance.

Seventeen pre-college and undergraduate students from The College of Muusic at Mahidol University in Bangkok performed short works by Debussy. Unfortunately the concert was not well attended.

I always enjoy watching young people play music, but Debussy is not one of my favourite composers.









 The embedded video is Clair de lune , which was included in the programme, played by Stephen Malinowski.

Kantary Hills

Last night the Dining Out Group ate at the Nimman Bar and Grill inside the Kantary Hills Hotel here in Chiang Mai.

This is a five star hotel and the evening was much anticipated. We were seated in a private dining room with elegant chairs.

Unfortunately it was a disappointing experience.

I, and many others, had the fixed menu at 460 Baht, plus 10% service charge and 7% VAT. A 500  ml carafe of wine was 450 Baht plus plus also. The prices were reasonable for a five star hotel and the food apart from being a little cold was fine. Unfortunately however the service was painfully slow and was a disgrace to the hotel. I will never dine there again.

Paul, the coordinator of the group described the evening like this

Tonight was by far the worst dining out event in the six years I’ve been coordinating this group. The service at Nimman Bar and Grill inside Kantary Hills Hotel, for a relatively large hotel with many empty tables in their restaurant was inexcusable to a crowd of only 17 people. This mailing goes out to 600 Chiang Mai addresses. The food was good but there were some people that didn’t get their food 2.5 hours after they ordered and it was cold when served. It took 2 hours for me to get an order of steak cooked rare. It’s a good thing that I ordered it rare or I’d be having it with my eggs for breakfast. It also took 45 minutes to get a check after I asked and they had the audacity to charge a 10% service charge. I immediately crossed out the service charge with the pen I borrowed from my waiter. This is the first and last time the dining out group will go there if I’m coordinating it.

The Ribeye Steak

From the fixed menu, I choose, caesar salad, mushroom soup, rib eye steak, strawberry ice cream, and coffee. The steak was delicious.

Anyway, the company as usual compensated for the slow service.

Gary & Phyllis



Our hungry group, waiting and waiting.........

Atsuko Seta

Atsuko is a Guest Professor from Japan at Payap University, here in Chiang Mai. Read her profile here.She is very popular with her students and often joins them in their recitals. Autsuko and her husband live in Chiang Mai.

Alberto Ginastera

Last night she presented a well attended concert featuring works by Chopin and Ginastera.

The programme consisted of,


WORKS OF CHOPIN (1810-1849)

Fantasy Impromptu Op. 66 in C sharp Minor

Prelude Op. 28 No.15 in D flat Major

Polonaise Op.44 No. 5 in F sharp Minor

Nocturne Op. posth in C sharp Minor

Polaise Op. 53 No.6 in A flat Major


Suite de Danzas Criollas Op. 15

Milonga from Dos Canciones Op. 3

Malambo Op. 7

Piano Sonata No.1 Op. 22

The Chopin part of the concert was brilliant, but the Ginastera part, while interesting composition, did not have the same appeal or enjoyment.

Atskto not only is a great pianist, but her happy personality shows through in her playing.

It happened to be her birthday. The audience sang “Happy Birthday” and she was presented with a candle lighted cake.

In the embedded video the great Russinn pianist Vladimir Horowitz plays Chopin’s PolaiseOp. 53 No.6 in A flat Major.


We had a great time in Macau, except for a maniac taxi driver who drove us from the airport to the Sintra Hotel. The hotel was very comfortable and the buffet breakfast was fine. They have delicious scrambled eggs which are very rich and seem to be made with butter or cream.

When we departed Chiang Mai, I bought a I litre bottle of Hardy’s VR Cabernet Sauvignon and Don bought  a litre of VR  Chardonnay wine duty free. Yes 1 litre, a bargain at 420 Baht (A$13.77). When we arrived at the Sintra we had a couple of glasses to settle our nerves after the taxi ride!

By this time it was about 9 pm We decided to go next door to the Emperor Palace Casino to check it out. It was fairly elegant but the table limits were HK$200 or HK$300. Too high for low rollers like us. It also had a negative atmosphere. The dealers looked unfriendly and even the clientele looked unhappy. We later found out that this is fairly typical for Macau. So we retired for the night.

Chinese New Year Decorations


Next morning we did a tour of the Casinos and tourist attractions around our area. We were located in the Old City. The newer larger and glitzy casinos are located on The Strip. All tables we checked had too high table limits, so we continued looking for casinos with HK$100 minimum. Eventually we found some at Ponte 16 at the Sofitel Hotel.Unfortunately I had my biggest loss here.

Chinese New Year Decorations


Next day we found more HK$100 tables around our area.We particularly enjoyed the Star World Hotel & Casino. The restaurant here had delicious sweet & sour garouper.

Me Outside Ruins of St. Paul's


Ground Floor Star World Hotel & Casino

Dance Show Star World Hotel & Casino



Casinos like Wynn (with its performance lake) and and Lisboa are huge. The main gambling activityat all casinos is baccarat. Roulette tables and Black Jack tables are hard to find, Sic Bo is popular. There are many innovative slot machines some with dragon themes. Smoking is a problem in some but not all casinos.

Don came home with more money than he took. Me, well I’d rather not talk about it!

Don with Chinese New Year Decorations

Don Helping Lady with Restaurant Sign

Portugese Custard Pies Yum!

Performance Lake at Wynn