Karen Coffee Shop, B. Muang Ngaam, T. Thaton circa 1983

Discussion in 'Golden Oldies' started by Johpa, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Johpa

    Johpa Ol'Timer

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    Since David has been posting some classics I thought I should join in. Be patient as I learn how to post pics I have scanned from some old slides. I will test with an image of my dear friend Panga who ran the Karen Coffee Shop in all its various iterations from the very late 1970s into the late 1980s. The Karen Coffee Shop didn't really serve any coffee as back then the only coffee in Thailand was either nescafe or coffee boran (กาแฟ โบราณ). But it was just about the only hilltribe village at the time with a guesthouse and was noted in the original Wheeler and Cummings guide books. The blue Honda Wing is the motorcycle that Panga used to teach me how to ride.

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    And Panga today

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  2. Johpa

    Johpa Ol'Timer

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    I managed the Karen Coffee SHop with Panga for about a year and a half circa 1983. To get to the guesthouse you first took the always crowded songthaew from Thaton and you arrived in the Karen village of Muang Ngaam an hour or so later. Today the same trip takes about 10 minutes. This is the center of the village back then.

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    You then hiked about 1 1/2 km along the narrow dykes of some rice padi and up a dirt road to the guesthouse site located on a small hill overlooking the village and surrounding valley. This use to be adventure travel back when young people with backpacks read Hesse and Gurdjieff and mail was picked up at the main Chiang Mai post office via Poste Restante.
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    And then you stayed in a small bungalow like the one below.

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    And then up at the guesthouse you could always run into some interesting folks

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    Below is my friend Ago who now works at the Ton Luang "Long Neck" village just before the Mae Sa Elephant camp
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    And then during the day, if not out on a trek, you could go into the village for lunch
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    Or my favorite, flirt with the local maidens. I ended up marrying one such Karen princess (not pictured) and that is how I ended up with the Karen name of Johpa.

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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Wow, simply amazing! I love these old pictures; how things have changed!!!
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Golden days eh Rande, bring it on if you've got more.

    Ive got a few now...

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    11 kgs - "Pandora's Boxes" of Golden Oldies going back to 1978 finally arrived from Oz. Yo Ho.
     
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  5. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

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    Wow These Golden Oldies will turn into a Ripper! Will take a While for You to sort through that Lot David! Great Photos Rande. That Wing looks like it was Brand New in the Photo! I love the then and Now Photos if You Guys can find some of them! Great Work.
     
  6. Johpa

    Johpa Ol'Timer

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    The other great thing about the Karen Coffee Shop was that it was only a relatively short walk to neighboring villages including Akha, Lisu, Lahu, and Shan villages. But the local Lisu village was by far the most notorious as the headman of that village was Laota. You can see a young Laota in the first pic below leading his troos at the annual parade of locals at the Amphoe office in Mae Ai.

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    The rest of the photos below are from slides taken in the early 1980s during a Lisu New Year celebration up at Laota's village.

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  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Now that's something - those old Lisu new photos in Lao Ta's village. Those were the days alright.
     
  8. Annd

    Annd New Member

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    Hi
    I found these photos by chance and joined your forum to contact you all. I was in the coffee shop for about 4-5 months in the spring summer of 1980 when I was 20. I learnt to backstrap weave (badly), and helped Siewa and Panga as much as I could look after the "foreigners". Overall I was the slightly stupid, very strong English girl. I shan't reveal my nickname but Panga may remember. I tried to stay in touch but nothing came back so gave up.
    It is really good to see these photos - I have lost mine in many moves since but so many memories. How are the family? Please send my regards to them all (6 sons I think). Panga's Mum and Dad were also very, very kind (as everyone was) and tell Panga he looks just like his Dad!
    Ann
     
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  9. Johpa

    Johpa Ol'Timer

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    Panga and Siewa are both doing relatively well although both are dealing with some arthritis. Their seven sons, the seventh Robert was born around 1981, are also doing well with one living in the San Francisco Bay area, one is a musician down in Khao Lak north of Phuket, and one works on and off at the Tong Luang tourist village in Mae Rim. Panga's father was killed many. many years ago, probably shortly after you were there, reportedly by some of Laota's people. That is why Panga moved the guesthouse from the village to up on the hill. I have found one relatively recent pic of Siewa from few years ago.

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  10. Annd

    Annd New Member

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    Hi Johpa
    Thanks so much for this. It brings back so many memories from that time. I am so glad that they are both Ok and their family are thriving but very sad to hear about Panga's father. Have Panga and Siewa have stayed in the village?
    My daughter is in Thailand in Chiang Mai and was asking about the coffee shop - I presume it is long gone? When she talks about Thailand, it seems another world again from 1980s. When I was there Cambodia made an incursion onto Thai territory and my parents sent me a telegram demanding I come home at once as they thought war was imminent - the telegram arrived 3 weeks after the event which was about 1000 miles away. Just to prove my biking credentials I seem to recollect I went side saddle on that bike with Panga, Siewa and a child wedged between us!
    Ann
     
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