Author

Madame Astrid Garcia

One of the most popular Ambassadorial couples to have served their country in Thailand over recent years were Andelfo and Astrid Garcia from Colombia. They were here for more than six years but touched the heart of many with their warm embrace, exciting and convivial company. Expat Life caught up with them back in the Americas now and managed to persuade Astrid to share their recent travels with us.

After having the privilege of living almost six wonderful years in Thailand, as Colombian ambassadors to the wonderful kingdom, we both retired and began a tour for several countries, and on that journey, we returned to visit Colombia in January 2020. 

We had an invitation to attend the Barranquilla Carnival along with some friends to continue travelling throughout the Caribbean region and then return to Bogota, to attend a wedding on  March 11, and back to California, but on March 13 Colombia when many countries closed their international borders because of Covid 19, something unheard was going to change everybody’s life. 

We then spent five months in Bogota, confined, reading, writing, Netflix, experimenting with our cooking abilities, and ‘Zooming’ with friends. We had time to work on many interesting projects that had been buried in our computers for years. The truth is, that it was a productive special time. Finally in August, Colombia opened local roads and we decided we had to reinvent our plans and since Colombia is enjoying the fruits of the peace process and the agreements of 2016, we decided that since we were in Colombia, we needed to organise ‘Covid code’ trips to explore Colombia by road. We did not use hotels, we used Airbnb to search and rent houses for a month in each region and from there we will go to the nearby towns using masks and with all the precautions recommended by the authorities. We will only attend open air restaurants for lunch, most restaurants anyway are working just by reservation, breakfast and dinner would be at home. We are lucky that everything had worked perfectly and we continued devouring roads, collecting experiences, and visiting pre-empty towns. 

As a traveller always chasing places recognised for their cultural or natural value by UNESCO, as World Heritage Sites (WHS), this was a great opportunity to visit or revisit some of Colombia’s nine recognised UNESCO WHS. They were Cartagena, Santa Cruz de Mompox, The Coffee Cultural Landscape, San Agustin Archaeological Park, Tierradentro, Chiribiquete National Park, Los Katios National Park, Malpelo Fauna, and Flora Sanctuary, and the Tatacoa Desert (in the approval process). We will see how many we could visit before it is safe to return to the USA.

Going back to our story, before Covid, we went to Barranquilla, a city located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. The Barranquilla Carnival was wonderful, well organised, it lasted for several days with music, dance, costumes, lights colours, and flavours. It was also a good pretext to get together with lovely long term friends. After this wonderful carnival, we rented a car and headed South following the course of the main river in Colombia, the Magdalena River that crosses the country from South to North. Our main purpose in this road trip was to visit Santa Cruz de Mompox (WHS). This is a beautiful city of historical value, founded in 1537 on the banks of the river, a treasure that preserves intact the best Spanish colonial architecture, with its churches, its cobbled streets, and it’s Caribbean flavour closely associated with the river.

Mompox was for many years the prime centre of gold and silversmithing being world recognised for its ancestral handmade Filigree Jewellery. Mompox still has many small family owned shops. I bought stunning filigree jewellery for my three daughters in law, my granddaughter, my sister in law, my sister, and for me.

We continued our road trip heading to Cartagena, the Heroic, (UNESCO WHS), named like that because the city resisted many attacks from Spain when trying to retake control of their colony and also many attacks from pirates. Cartagena amused us with its wall surrounding the old city, its plazas, houses, museums, churches, restaurants, fashion and jewellery designer stores, nightlife and it’s warm people. After two wonderful weeks in Cartagena, we returned to  Barranquilla to take our flight to Bogota to attend our friend’s wedding. 

That weekend the news struck us all Covid-19 was hitting Colombia and Colombia closed international flights. Like everybody else in the world, we had to confine ourselves. After our 5 months confined in the capital city, Bogotá, in August, the government opened roads and we decided there will be many months more waiting for a vaccine and we should get out of the city.  

So, we set off on our first ‘Covid code’ trip, it was to the Coffee Growing Region(WHS), to the provinces of Quindio and Risaralda. The region is a magical valley leaning on the central mountain range, one of the three mountain ranges of the Andean region of Colombia. This region is not only well known for the enchanting scenery of coffee farms but also for bird watching. Colombia occupies the first place in the world in a diversity of birds with almost 2,000 registered species, the coffee region has 35% of Colombian bird species. While in the region, we learned much about birds and we enjoy them every day, you could see them and hear their songs all day long from any place where you are.

Being an art lover and collector, and after hearing and watching birds every day, I sat with the native biologist and photographer Alejandro Grajales and selected from his hundreds of photos in his PC some photos to print a small collection of indigenous birds from their four subregions, and now they are exhibited at the house where our friends graciously lent us and we enjoyed for a month. 

I will enumerate just a few things from the most picturesque towns we visited. In Salento, The Cocora Valley is stunning with hundreds of Wax Palms, some of the tallest palms in the world. The area has its own bird sanctuary. There we had the unique opportunity to see a condor flying just on top of us, it was very impressive. Another town is Pijao, which is surrounded by the most magical view of mountains, that we enjoy sitting at the Conrad Coffee place at the very top of the mountain. In Montenegro, you have The Paradise of Guadua and Bambu which is more impressive than the ones I have seen in other regions of the world. In Calarcá, the well kept Botanical Garden.   Cartago is famous for exporting hand embroidery fashionable cloth, I bought lovely embroidered blouses for Christmas gifts. 

After one month of travelling throughout small semi-empty towns, again we returned to Bogota more in love with Colombia’s nature and its people and once again departed this time to visit the province of Santander, located in the Northeast of Colombia, to settle in Barichara, another WHS.


Barichara is a city of cobbled streets and colonial architecture, in the heart of the town stands the Cathedral made of sandstone with an altar adorned in gold. There are plenty of churches built in the 19th century. Each street has its own enchantment. You need to walk them all. All the streets are hill up or hill down, you will end with strong calves. At the top of the hill, it is the enchanting Bio-park, with many regional plants and a majestic view of mountains and the valley.

Again back to Bogota and then heading to visit the Southwest of Colombia, to San Agustín Archeological National Park (UNESCO WHS). The Park preserves hundreds of pre-Columbian statues, tombs, and utensils from hundred of years before the arrival of the Spaniards conquistadors of America. The area is nestled in the Andes mountain range. San Agustín calls us for a reflection of the greatness of its original inhabitants and the enormous development and sophistication of their ancestral culture. 

During that trip we discovered Villa Nueva, it was not in our plans, not even on the map. It is an undisclosed perfect small town paradise. Each house has a lovely front with plants and trees that provide shade. It has a cultural life of its own, the only school frames the plaza, revealing its importance. A well recognised national sculptor, Emiro Garzon made this town his paradise and has an incredible art internship programme for kids and soldiers from the army. All this happens without police or a mayor. The community has its own rules. Their inhabitants believe in their culture and in respecting each other.  

We continue to the Tatacoa Desert (pending WHS) known for its ochre, grey and red sand dunes, and for being a perfect spot for star observers. It offers you every night an open sky spectacle of stars and constellations. We were lucky as a well known astronomer was there and gave us that very night a presentation and shared with us his powerful telescopes. 

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Family

Much of what we do in life is connected with events that inspire, encourage or propel us in a certain direction without us always being aware of what initially led us down a certain track.

For me, travel has always been more than a whimsical journey. Each of the 106 countries that I have been fortunate enough to visit I have done so for a special reason that motivated me at that time; leading to unique experiences and my own incredible trip of a lifetime.

In March this year, Anita, a dear friend and wife of the Ambassador of Indonesia led me to the spectacular beauty of Bali, Solo and Yogyakarta as part of a trip she organised. I had been to this wonderful country before, but this time the interesting group programmes opened up fascinating insights into Indonesia’s rich history and culture.

Spectacular scenery with a landscape of mountains and jungles, Indonesia boasts mesmerising Hindu temples in the highlands, cultural beauty spots and interesting historical sites, dotted with villages each with their own individual character.

Madams in Indonesia

A royal visit. 

In Yogyakarta, Indonesia’s only region sill governed by a monarchy, we were welcomed at the Water Palace by Ratu Hemas, the Queen consort, wife of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. During the Indonesian National Revolution in the 40s, when the country was struggling for independence, it was the Sultan’s father, who helped in that quest for freedom.

A modern monarchy.

The current Sultan brought an end of the Javanese royalty tradition of polygamy and I am sure his wife, had an input in that too!

She has also made a real difference, actively promoting women in politics, and in 2004 she became a Senator for the Yogyakarta Special Region as an independent candidate. It was inspiring to chat with her and her youngest daughter. Princess Bendara is one of five royal sisters who have all returned to Yogyakarta armed with an international education to give back to their homeland, working on projects that promote progress and tourism, empower women and the youth of Indonesia.

Bali’s artistic hub.

In the artsy district of Ubud, in Bali, we visited Runa Jewellery House of Design and Museum to marvel at the beauty of the Dancing in Silver collection; celebrating 25 years of jewellery pieces by renowned designer Runi Palar. Her husband Adrian was the architect of the house and museum. The creative craftswoman ship along with the views of paddy fields and the gorgeously furnished house create a sense of harmony that we all enjoyed.

House

A green dream.

The green bamboo village and school in Ubud is an amazing example of what following your dreams can achieve. A village of indigenous bamboo houses and a bamboo school that promotes sustainability and green living, this is a vision of designers John Hardy and his wife Cynthia.

The world’s largest Buddhist temple. Indonesia is home to some breathtaking sites and our visit to the 9th century Borobudur Buddhist Temple in Central Java as the sun was setting was nothing short of magnificent. Climbing to the top of the world’s largest Buddhist temple, our party was met by Admiral I Gusti Ngurah who hosted a traditional dinner whilst revealing the temple’s history.

Madam Astrid

A seafaring adventure.

The Admiral also regaled us with adventure stories from when he captained an expedition along the Cinnamon Route which in years gone by took shipping vessels laden with spices from Indonesia across the Indian Ocean to Africa. The Admiral navigated this ancient route in a replica of a wooden sailing boat created from a relief at the temple, the ship is now harboured at the Museum. His seven month journey was steered with Indonesia’s cultural heritage at its heart. What a tale!

Poster

Javanese Batik.

In Solo, in Java, the beautiful rooms of artistic pieces at Danar Hadi Batik bring to life the history of people of Indonesia, we enjoyed browsing and shopping at the historical house. Meanwhile, at ApipBatik, in Yogyakarta, we had a fun Batik workshop, it was very difficult to apply the hot wax with the traditional Javanese tjanting, we embraced the experience and took home a unique memento or my fantastic trip.

Our journey to Indonesia led us to a spirit enriching, cultural adventure that we all enjoyed. Today, I just returned from Iran it was the most surprising, enchanting trip ever. I cannot wait to share my experiences with you next time.

Ladies

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Madame Astrid

There is a monumental shift taking place within Thai society, driven by the appreciation and cultivation of original fine art.

Spearheaded primarily by influential millennials and women; an exclusive group of art collectors has emerged in Bangkok. This group of young, well educated and globetrotting Thais is creating a thriving art scene from the ground up as they express themselves as the international art lovers that they are.

Madame Astrid, an art aficionado, long time art consultant for Fortune 500 companies in the US and the wife of the H.E. Ambassador of Colombia Andelfo Garcia in Thailand, she has been travelling around the world discovering talented emerging artists for the last 30 years and working diligently to cultivate an appreciation for art.

Her influence as a socialite in this 4 years is putting “fine art” on the map in a way that has never been done before and redefining Thai society desires.

Madame Astrid Meeting

Astrid shared with us that “The art wave happening in Bangkok is the same phenomenon that happened in the USA 30 years ago with wine appreciation, people were not accustomed to drinking wine in the US, and preferred local beer until wine companies started promoting and importing fine wines.

First, the elite started consuming it because it was a prestigious symbol, but it soon became available to the masses and morphed into a status symbol that everyone could experience.This was also mirrored in Thailand some years ago and now there is a plethora of wine bars and events that are enjoyed and accessed by all.

The same phenomenon is happening with art here, there are just a few art galleries, museums or public art spaces in Bangkok, and most of them exclusively showcase local art but the art wave have started. “I feel a responsibility to bestow my experience in the international art arena to promote international art in public spaces for the community to enjoy.

To promote art programmes in schools or to just attract people to place original art on their wish list to enjoy it at home with all the family”. I want to share one of the notes we received after our exhibits, it describes perfectly the creative effect that art produces.

“We greatly enjoyed our visit to La Femme and students came back brimming with ideas” Michael Case of Harrow International School. Art initiatives encourage youth to develop creative skills that are crucial in today’s job market. Art helps us express our values, it builds bridges between cultures and brings us together regardless of ethnicity, religion or age. Art helps to transform communities.

Very Important People

The myth that Thai people are not interested in art and that those with disposable income only purchase luxury fashion brands in lieu of fine art is being challenged. High profile millennials, businessmen and most notably influential women from all walks of life are joining up with seasoned art collectors like Kris Narongdej (CEO of KPN) Prayudh Mahagitsiri (CEO PM Group), Vinchen Phongsalthn (CEO Premier Group), have all participated in recent art auctions that have donated significant funds for different organisations.

In November 2016, Madame Astrid organised the first ever exhibit of international art at The Museum of Chulalongkorn, which exceeded expectations on many levels. Guests who attended the opening night were treated to a surprise international “Art Auction” which was the first of its kind in Thailand. One of the three Colombian artists who exhibited was sold out, and the other two artists sold 50% of their art. This is significant because 90% of the art sold was purchased by local Thais, which clearly indicates a prodigious shift in mindset.

This was just one of many art appreciation initiatives that Madame Astrid has been working to include many important players as top local and international schools, shopping centres, museums and the government. Leading companies such as as the Central Group has already engaged sponsoring various cultural meaningful exhibitions as the Augmented Reality “Frozen Planet” in January where leading international schools participated bringing groups of parents and students to enjoy and learn about “Save the Arctic Animals”.

Children participate

Astrid is also working with leading international schools in an ambitious international art programme called “Creative
Education”.

The beauty of original art is that it stimulates the senses, evokes emotions and soothes the soul. Art is a window that allows us to reflect and express ourselves in a unique and unparalleled way. There are no boundaries defining why we love a particular piece over another.

“High profile millennials, businessmen and most notably influential women from all walks of life are joining up with seasoned art collectors.”

An original piece of art can be the soul of a house, the centrepiece of an office, or a highly personalised expression of one’s external emotion. As the famous artist Thomas Merton once said “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Although the Bangkok art scene is a burgeoning one, it takes the whole society to embrace art education in daily lives. This is an invitation to all to visit art exhibits and museums, purchase art and sponsor art events.

Children love School

 

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madame astrid ft

Madame Astrid (Amaya) Garcia is the wife of the Ambassador for Colombia to Thailand H.E. Andelfo Garcia and together they rank as one of the favourite diplomatic couples on the Bangkok social scene. They are always on the guest list and are well known, universally respected and liked by both their fellow Ambassador’s and spouses, Thai high society and the business community in Bangkok.

They have been together since their high school days and make everyone feel so welcome and at ease in their company. Always have time to stop and talk and make further introductions to their friends in the diplomatic community.

Expat Life is honoured that Madame Astrid finds time to share part of her privileged life with us and our readers as she typifies expat life in Thailand in engaging and connecting with the very best that Thailand has to offer the international residents that make up the writers and readers of this magazine.

We sat down with Madame Astrid and tried to keep her sat still for an hour and for all those that know her well you will appreciate how difficult that is!

Tell us about the wonderful art event you organised this month.

Well, the Embassy of Colombia, partnered with the Art Museum of Chulalongkorn University to offer a powerful art exhibition called ”Winds of Peace”.

“Winds of Peace” was a contemporary art exhibition to celebrate the end of conflict in Colombia. The end of the war was a groundbreaking moment in Colombia’s history. In recognition of this historic achievement the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the President of the Republic of Colombia, Dr Juan Manuel Santos.

“Winds of Peace” exhibited the works of three Colombian renowned artists. Mario Ayerbe, Leonardo Salazar and Andres Santodomingo. Mario Ayerbe travelled to Bangkok from the southern province of Huila, one of the regions that historically suffered the most from the scourge of violence. Today that region enjoys new winds, winds of peace, and an environment suitable for the flourishing of the arts and other expressions of human creation.

I am pleased that the exhibition was such a great success not only because the number and quality of the attendees but because of the silent auction that took place in aid of the Yuvabadhana Foundation. The programme proved that Bangkok high society likes contemporary art, not only to see it, but to buy it and enjoy it at home with their family.

The art world is seeing an important change across the globe and the far east is no exception as millennials and women are now the new art collectors, they are spending their money on meaningful and interesting things rather than just branded products.

What was the best event you participated this month?

The Indian Garba Dance Festival. The festival was organised by the Indian members of the diamond industry in Bangkok. I was invited to the Indian Navaratree celebration, a true celebration of good over bad. It was by far the most joyful festival that I have ever been to. The entire Indian family attended with children of all ages. Everybody was dressed in traditional costumes from the Gujarat province. The girls wore colourful, beautiful dresses with full makeup, and the boys had moustaches and wore face paint. They all danced in a big circle with people of all ages, and then there were dance competitions according to age.

All the kids were so enthralled with their dancing that many lasted until 2am! I don’t want to miss it next October.

What was your best trip this month?

I went to the Philippines on a well organised trip by the International Women’s Club. I enjoyed it very much even though I was really sick on arrival but luckily for me one of the ladies travelling was a doctor so she gave me medicine and kept guard for me and it did not stop me from doing a zip line over the Blue Ladoon and sand surfing at their beautiful Dune. I was pampered by all the lovely ladies on the trip and thank them for their kindness.

In Manila, the highlight was Intramuros, the “Walled City.” The famed site was built under Spanish colonial rule. Visitors should go to The Fort and have dinner at Barbara’s, an old-fashioned century house turned into a restaurant. Barbara’s has a cheerful, entertaining show of local performers of traditional artistry with lively Filipino dance and music.

I visited two very interesting and well kept museums – The National Museum and the Contemporary Art Museum. If you are more adventurous you will want to visit San Antonio, a very poor, old, traditional neighbourhood to get a feel of the real Manila.

The best of the Philippines is to be seen travelling around the Unesco World Heritage sites. There you will enjoy the amazing landscapes while you travel from one town to another.

Malacanang North with its Paoay Church, one of the four Baroque Churches in the Philippines that are part of Unesco sites, should definitely be seen.

Vigan City in Ilocos Sur is considered as one of the seven most wonderful cities in the world was absolutely beautiful, we really needed more time to enjoy it all.I bought two unique, hardwood, old sculptures and we all found local handmade fabrics to bring home.

I think I will go back soon as I would like to visit many of the other islands in the Philippines.

They are things that you do not have to teach but they come engraved in the soul

What are some of the important things you and the Ambassador have done together?

dunes in philippines

I think the most important one has been raising our three sons. There are things that you do not have to teach but they come engraved in the soul, like the love for art, music and travelling. Children will love them. For Andelfo and I, to have original art, good music, some lovely friends and travelling has been very important in our lives.

When we got married the most important thing was to have a good stereo for our music and art for the walls. Furniture was not on the list. We had a very inexpensive dining room and we just covered the table with a nice tablecloth. Our living room had big cushions on the floor with small round tables topped with museum art books for reading. I guess the importance of art came from how my parents raised us surrounded by art and constantly visiting museums. My mother used to tell us “look at the walls, there is where you find the difference, furniture is a necessity, art is the difference”.

For the first five years of marriage, we studied and worked, just to spend it all travelling and buying pieces of art on each trip (200USD was our maximum art investment budget on each piece). When our first son was born, my mother said, “Now that you have a son you have to start thinking of buying a house.”Then we started thinking of moving from renting to buying a house. No matter what, we still did big trips with the kids every year, they grew up loving to research and visit the different countries and cultures we experienced.

We knew that the importance of having original art with you was already passed on to them when the first thing that my sons thought of when they moved in to live with their now wives, was to ask for a piece of art from the family collection.

paying respect

Look at the walls, there is where you find the difference

How will you celebrate Christmas and New Year this year?

We had always celebrated Christmas with the whole family, mainly in New York, but now that our sons are all married we have had to adapt our plans and be more flexible.We are lucky that our daughters in law are now part of our yearly celebrations.

One year when Andelfo was working in London, we had to go to New York to celebrate Christmas together and then return the next day for an official event in London. We did not want to break the tradition.

New Year’s Eve too was always the same as we wanted to be with family and friends, but now we have to share our sons with their wives’ family, so we celebrate with whoever is available, their families and many good friends.

 

 

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madame-ft

How did forty years of marriage begin?

My husband and I met in high school. He chased after me for years, constantly vying for my attention. He would walk me home from school and would ask me to be his girlfriend. I just wanted to have friends so every time he asked me, I would  say no. He was very persistent. Then one day my girlfriend told me that she wanted Andelfo! I saw the two of them together and decided I had to have him before it was too late!

So the next day he walked me to the bus stop. I told him, “Ask me the question that you always ask me”. He asked me what my favourite movie was? He asked me if I had band rehearsal that weekend? He asked me if I would go to the basketball game on Friday?

I insisted that he ask me the question that was most important to him, the one that he asked every time, but he would not ask, he was enjoying the moment. So I had to to remind him, “You always ask me to be your girlfriend”. He smiled and said, “Oh! That question.” I shook my head and said, “If you ask me again I will say yes”. That was many, many years

ago now.

 

You love to travel! What has been your most recent adventure?

Last month I went to Bhutan and Nepal with my travel buddy and dear friend Soraya. She loves adventure as much as I do!

We first went to Bhutan, a mysterious land north of India and south of Tibet in the Eastern Himalayas. It is a truly unique country to visit. We visited many beautiful places but what impacted me the most was the house of the King. It is not a palace at all but just a small house house next door to a big monastery. The King of Bhutan is legitimately modest and serves as an example to royals around the world.

After visiting Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, we drove up a mountain up to Punakha, a province in the country. It took three hours to drive there and we had to climb up to 12,000 metres above sea level.

We enjoyed viewing all the way from Thimphu and Punakha colourful gigantic flags waving in the winds and 108 stupas. The stupas are beautiful monuments to Buddhism and relics of the past.

Along the winding roads to Punakha are speed limit signs suggesting a maximum of 40kph. I asked the guide why he drove so slow. There was no traffic and it would have been fine if he went fast.

“The recommended speed is 40kph and if I go faster it will just save us four minutes but will endanger us and all of the people that come our way”, he replied. All the signs come as recommendations, not as prohibitions. People follow them because they believe them.

The country has many amazing monasteries with the highlight being the Tiger’s Nest. It is believed that Guru Ripoche, founding father of Bhutanese Buddhism, arrived there on the back of a tigress and meditated in the monastery.

To reach the peak of the Tiger’s Nest, we hiked for three hours plus half an hour on a mule. It was totally worth it and our guide entertained us with the amazing history of the mountaintop monastery. Another monastery we visited was the Taktsang Palphug Monastery.

In Thimphu I bought the most unique, colourful, handmade leather boots. The villagers make them in the mountains for their everyday use and they pass them down from child to child when they don’t fit anymore. I can’t wait to wear them in a next adventure!

What was Nepal like?

Our trip to Nepal was fascinating as we were able to visit the impressive art and architecture of the Kathmandu world. One of the highlights was Durbar Square where you can find the oldest stupas. The historical site harks back to 460 AD and was built by King Manadeva. The stupa provides an enchanting view of the city.

We also visited the palace of Hanuman Dhoka which houses the living Goddess Kumari. The young Goddess appears for visitors. You can see her for just a few minutes at exactly 11am everyday on the balcony.

bhutan-palace

Photos of the Goddess are strictly forbidden but there are postcards of her for sale, I’ve included a picture of her below. It is very interesting to see that they still conserve her costume. The Goddess is selected from many candidates at the age of 8 years old and will be there until she is 14. She lives a recluse and secluded life, only seeing her father. She is barred from seeing anyone else. When she is done serving her term as Goddess she returns to her normal life. Many can not adjust to regular life again and have problems but the families will still offer up their daughters to become the Goddess as it is considered a grand honour for the family.

Fitting with the adventurous nature of our travels we went paragliding in the Pokhara mountains. The drive to the paragliding site was along a narrow road through the mountains. Our driver went very fast along the dangerously winding roads. I told Soraya that if we arrive in one piece, the paragliding would be not dangerous at all!

nepal in the air

 

 

You have a very active social life. We attended the Colombian Concert, we saw how your music had all Thais and foreigners dancing, tell us about the concert.

The Colombian Music Concert was the highlight of this year. We brought the Eibar Vallenato Group for a concert to the Bangkok Art and Cultural Center (BACC). Eibar and his group’s music was so captivating that he had Latinos, Thai’s and foreigners dancing and singing in the aisles. It was incredible that even those who did not understand the lyrics could enjoy the music and engage with a completely different culture. Vallenato transmitted a radiant energy and rhythm.

What other events have you been to?

We were invited to the Opera Dinner at Vertigo Too. It was a great choice for a special night. The performance was filled with the magic of Broadway musicals, jazz, and pieces of the renowned classic play Les Miserables.

concert

We had a delicious dinner accompanied with some dear friends. The dinner included a mouthwatering duck and orange sauce for dinner. I suggest you reserve well ahead of time as I am sure it will be again filled in advance. We are ready to return to the Opera for excerpts from Carmen on September 13.

We recently had dinner at the Korean residence as a farewell for our dear friend Enno and Juri, the Ambassadors of Austria. The Korean Ambassadors were not only great hosts but they have one of the most beautiful embassy residences in Bangkok, with an alluring collection of art from Korea. We had a great night full of interesting stories and the company of dear friends. The charming couple from Austria were be sorely missed.

Residing in Bangkok has allowed us to create a fascinating group of friends. We regularly enjoy dinners at the Colombian residence with friends from all walks of life. Our friends are academics, artists, business people and politicians who join us for music and friendship in a family atmosphere. This was last Saturday at our Summer Get Together.

You are always so busy with new and interesting art projects in different countries. Do you have any art projects here in Bangkok?

Yes, the Embassy of Colombia and the Museum of Chulalongkorn University will be exhibiting a powerful art collection called ”Winds of Peace.”

The collection is an honouring of the Colombian peace agreement which was a great achievement for our country and we want to celebrate it through the eyes of our artists.

I heard that you have succeeded in bringing Sotheby’s to Bangkok for a unique contemporary art auction in October. Can you tell us more about this?

Yes I am so excited! On Wednesday October 4th, we will have a Museum Night Opening Reception in the presence of celebrities, Ambassador’s, diplomats, and VIPs from the business, political and academic world along of course with

all of the art collectors.

flower-pot

 

The auction by Sotheby’s, who are sending in a team from Hong Kong specifically, is organised to benefit underprivileged children in Bangkok through the Yuvabadhana Foundation. It is a rare opportunity to be able to acquire international art directly from the artists here in Bangkok and to raise funds for the little children.

bear stone

For the Museum Opening Night reception and Art Auction information

you can contact [email protected]

 

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