Thailand Update for the Week of January 12 – 16.
Our Interact Minneapolis team (Artistic Director Jeanne Calvit, Story-teller Kevin Kling, Actors Lhea Jeagar and Dominic Zeman and myself) arrived in Chaing Mai on Sunday morning after 24 hours of travel and very minimal sleep (Dominic, Lhea and I didn’t sleep at all.) Also joining us is Jeanne’s son Christoph and Lhea’s mom Kim.
Because we arrived in the morning, we had to challenge ourselves to stay awake until at least 9pm so we could try to get on a normal sleep schedule. Right after we landed, the Thailand Interact music director (and my dear friend) Pong whisked me away to see his new baby named Please.
She is the sweetest thing and that hair!
Monday morning, we hit the ground running with the crew at RICD (the hospital that houses Interact Thailand). The old guard is back again: on staff we have Mr. Singh, Pong, Bam, Blue, Tan and Ning Nong as well as a couple new faces. And as far as the actors go Aomsing, Add, Chai, Riang, Khim, Fluke, Fai and Ginsine are all excited for another year. There are many new performers as well, but who EXACTLY they are seems to change every day. Next week I will write some artists profiles so you can get to know everyone better.
Our original plan was to re-mount last years production of Song of Songkran because we weren’t able to include all the songs we had written. The American team had thought of last year’s “production” as more of a work-shop.
It soon became clear that the staff and artists REALLY wanted something new. They have performed Song of Songkran many times since last year. They even made a CD and published a book of the script and songs (remind me to edit the music before sending it this year…yikes!)
So, after a couple of meetings, we decided to write The Love Show because one of our performances falls on Valentine’s Day (a very popular holiday in Thailand.) The songs and stories will all deal with different kinds of love: romantic love, love of friends and family, love of singing, love of disabilities, love of food.
Being a great lover of food, I am most excited about this last topic. If any of you follow me on instagram or twitter or see my facebook posts, I like to fancy myself an amateur food photographer. Below you can see some of my favorites from the week.
Don’t worry, there will be more pictures to come as I will not stop eating anytime soon.
The most intriguing (and for me, most delicious) thing we ingested this week was “weasel coffee.”
Weasels eat the coffee beans and an enzyme in the weasels’ stomachs changes the protein structure of the coffee. It is then extracted from the feces and roasted.
It might seem strange, but It has the most glorious aroma and flavor.
I wish I could bring it home for everyone but at $10/cup (or $112/gram) I’m afraid you’ll have to take my word for it.
We’re told that in Chiang Rai – a city north of Chiang Mai on the border with Myanmar they have “elephant coffee” that is even more delicious and, of course, even more expensive. In a place where a bowl of soup or a beer costs a dollar, the price of this delicacy is truly astonishing.