at Thursday, June 24, 2010 Posted by Mac

Chiang Mai - Thursday, June 24

Today Andrew Forbes and David Henley of the Crescent Press Agency joined us at the Hong Taeo Inn for another memorable lunch of Northern Thai food, and a discussion of Thailand's ancient history and current events. Along the way we talked about the international media, and how badly skewed the perspectives and reporting on some of the recent events here were, even at times from some of the most respected agencies including Reuters, CNN, and the BBC.

Reuters, for example, had reported on May 20 that in Chiang Mai "an annex of the governor's residence was gutted by fire and the provincial administration office was torched." Because that complex (which has not actually been used as the governor's residence for many years) is right next door to our guest house, I asked several people who were here on May 19, and all of them told me that a few firecrackers had singed only a few leaves on a couple of trees.


I then walked around the property searching for any visual evidence of any damage. I saw none, and also confirmed that the "several banks" in the same Reuters story were, in fact, only a single ATM machine, all of which leaves me wondering just how much of what we read about troubles in other parts of the world is either exaggerated or simply inaccurate.

After lunch we stocked up on locally grown coffee beans from the Kasem Store, and a few books from the Suriwong Book Center, before heading out to dinner and a final evening of souvenir shopping at the Night Bazaar.

For the record, we have observed no sense of tension among the Chiang Mai natives other than the dismay among those in the tourist industry which is very obviously still suffering. Our guest house, for example, is barely half full, and the Night Bazaar, which is usually bustling with crowds of farang, feels about as deserted as a fairground on a Monday. The tourists will return, for sure, but we are certainly among the first.