Chiang Mai - Throught the Looking Glass
business class, the flight attendants set up an open bar and you are free to help yourself. Mum
had always liked Campari Soda and she spotted a bottle at the bar. I went over to mix Mum a
drink and when I returned, she had moved to the aisle seat.
“Wouldn’t you like the window seat Mum?”
“No, Love… its a lot easier from here to get up to stretch my legs.”
I could see that there was going to be a well travelled path to and from the bar and that the
Campari might well evaporate somewhat - no doubt due to the rarefied atmosphere.
Many years ago, I worked for an airline and once arranged for an elderly princess of the British
Royal Family to travel with us, First Class to Canada, with her Ladies in Waiting and RDPG
officers (Royal Diplomatic Protection Officers).
Also, travelling in the cabin was one of our own security officers.
After the trip – he related to us, some of the things which had occurred. The Princess, although
having her own favourite brand of whisky on board, sampled all of the aperitifs, wines and after
dinner drinks. When the toiletry bags were distributed, she opened hers and inspected every item,
and, as against usually handing it to the Lady in Waiting, put in into her handbag. She frequently
opened the window shade to see out. In those days the sunlight used to affect the movie image
being displayed on a cabin screen.
And so it was with Mum. Everything was a novelty for her and she enjoyed the flight to the
maximum, sampled everything and even went to the toilets several times to retrieve the
complimentary lotions and potions. I usually have a wobbly pop (drink) or two, eat the first meal
and then sleep the rest of the flight. Mum ate both meals and also the sandwich snacks in
between. After the flight, I was shattered, but Mum was the first off from the aircraft. We had
requested a wheelchair for Mum, but she was having none of it and happily walked up the air
bridge and into Thailand.
Welcome To Your New Home
Mum took to Thailand like a fish to water, and after an initial adjustment, settled into the house
that Tack, the personal assistant that I had hired, had found us out in the country in Saraphee, a
village close to Chiang Mai. We both had some surprises. What we thought to be monkeys
calling – turned out to be a bird. At night Mum was upset to hear an old man coughing – It
turned out to be the large and ugly Tokay lizard.
Blithe Spirit? – Our house was an old Thai teak wood house, in wonderful condition, with every
modern convenience inside. The gardens were beautiful with two Rai of land (nearly an acre). At
the front of the house Mum would keep Cassie busy and exercised with a tennis bat and ball. At
the back of the house was a small canal with a shaded, concrete bench where Mum, Cassie, Tack
and I used to sit and watch the fish. One day we were walking back to the house when I saw a
very small wooden house on a stand. I asked Tack as to what it was. She replied –
‘A San Pra Poom Spirit House’.
‘It may be a silly question Tack, but who lives there?’
Tack, as she would many times in the future, helped us with our education of Thai culture and
traditions. It turns out that most Thais believe that there are Spirits everywhere including water,
land and trees – all over the place. A ‘Spirit House’ is found at nearly every house and building.
The Spirits who live there are Pee Ban Spirits of the House. By paying respect and making daily
small offerings – the Spirits, hopefully, will watch over things, remain appeased and not do