Great 17 May celebrations in Thailand

More than 200 Norwegians and Thais celebrated the National Day of Norway in Thailand on 17 May 2003 in the usual grand style with hoisting of the flag, parade, speeches and games for the children and the the young at heart and in the evening a big dinner party at the Hotel Dusit Thani.
      The day started 8 o’clock sharp in the Garden of the Scandinavian Church with hoisting of the Norwegian flag by Magne Barth accompanied by the Swedish pastor Ulf Claesson on trumpet.
      For both Ulf and Magne, it was their last 17 May in Bangkok – at least as residents. Ulf Claesson is leaving for Sweden and soon to be replaced by a new pastor. Magne and his wife Gro Haaversen Barth – the Norwegian pastor in Bangkok who also headed the 17 May Committee – is likewise leaving Bangkok.
      Afterwards, breakfast was served.
      Next event started in the garden of Ragne Birte Lund, the Norwegian Ambassador to Thailand where some 200 people gathered at 11 o’clock for the parade up and down Sukhumvit Soi 38 with the Royal Thai Army band to the amusement of the curious Thai residents in the Soi. Leading the parade was Gro Haaversen Barth followed by Kristian Bo carrying the Norwegian flag.
      Back in the garden, the 17 May speech was held by Iselin Risahagen, daughter of Ingunn and Jon Albert Risahagen. And now the many traditional games could begin, running with a potato on a spoon, hopping in a sack, tugging the rope. The new comers were competing with the old timers in the tug-of-war and for once the new comers won.
      From the North of Thailand a group of young Thai people performed a fascinating yoga show, which was a mix between a cirkus show with the young people for instance standing on each others back forming a pyramid, but performed with the slow, deliberate movements of yoga excersises.
      From Klong Toey, the children of the Norwegian Misson entertained with songs and music on strings, violin and other instruments together with the children of the Norwegian community in Bangkok.
      Finally, around two oclock in the afternoon, people started leaving to prepare themselves for the dinner party in the evening at The Dusit Thani, where 80 people participated and celebrated untill over midnight into the 18 May.

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