----------------------------------------------- Google Site Map ----------------------------------------------- Cindy in ...: Chiang Mai: Royal Flora

Friday, January 26, 2007

Chiang Mai: Royal Flora

After telling myself, "I'll go tomorrow," for nearly three months, I finally went to the big international flower show here in Chiang Mai. That's where I took the pictures in the previous post. As you can tell, I liked the orchid exhibition.

I took a bus out to the show, and I was sitting next to a young Asian woman with excellent English and only a slight accent. Before I could get a chance to ask her where she was from, the conductor asked. "Vietnam. Hanoi." She went to an international school there, then attended an Australian university. She's working on her master's degree now in Melbourne.

International schools are not what I always thought they were, schools for ex-pat children. Well, they are, but not always. More commonly they are English-medium schools for local students. The existence of an English-medium school in Hanoi is to me an indication of how much Vietnam has changed since I visited in 1991. Then, I learned about 100 Vietanmese words so that I could travel, get a room, and eat.

While I was at the show, I took two rides on the trams that run around the grounds. Once seated in the tram, it was difficult to read signs and tell where I was. This was especially annoying as there were no English announcements on the trams, not even the stop number and name. Now, the conductor on a city bus spoke enough English to ask where someone was from. Surely they could have hired tram drivers that could announce stop numbers.

I've read that the organizers were disappointed that they didn't get more international visitors. A lot of exhibits had signs and handouts in Thai only, they had brand new restrooms that only had squat toilets, and they couldn't be bothered to say some simple numbers on the trams. It very much seemed like a show designed only for Thais. That's fine, as long as you don't expect a lot of international traffic. I've seen some bad reviews on various web sites. Could this be why?

No comments: