Thai-Danish Club Did It Again!

Thai-Danish Club has a special ability. These guys can make people wake up at 5 in the morning to gather at 6.30 outside the main auditorium of Kasetsart University – which is really not the most accessible place in Bangkok. Actually we were not all there by 6.30, but by departure time 7.00 we were. Still we waited until 7.40 for the last “missing person” – except this missing person was not missing at all! He had just climbed directly up into the bus and snuggled up to take a nap without anybody noticing it!
Then off we went, on the road again with a bus load of cheerful Thais with a Danish past or with a Danish connection – or with just about any connection. With Jack as our MC we were introduced to first President ‘Jew’ Somsiri, then the rest of the present board members Secretary ‘Dear’ Watinee, PR responsible ‘Koi’ Hataya and activity committee members ‘Bo’ Benjaporn, ‘Boyd’ Suwat and “Korn” Pakorn.
Half way through the presentations, Treasurer Parkh Tvesuk gave up trying to translate each presentation into Danish. That didn’t bother the last board member to be presented, ‘Yoo’ Thitirat. Based on her less than one year of studying in Denmark, ‘Yoo’ delivered on her own a fluent translation into Danish of her presentation! Wow! What a talent for languages!
Shortly after, we arrived at Thai-Danish Dairy Farm, which was decorated with Thai and Danish flags on the occasion. Here we were greeted by Vice President ‘Rat’ Virat, Past President Sawaeng and his wife Helga who was back in Thailand for a vacation or – as Sawaeng put it himself – to make sure that he would go back with her to Denmark after the vacation.
First test at the Dairy Farm was milking the tits on a rubber breast. It was instructive but hard. Later, we were taken on a small train pulled by a tractor up to the first farmhouse, which Denmark gave to Thailand in 1962. On the way, our guide and ‘Dear’ Watinee told us all about cow farming the Thai-Danish way.
At the farmhouse, a gun-slinging cowboy – not the Danish kind in blue overalls – showed us a video of the official opening of the farm by King Frederik, Queen Ingrid and King Bhumibol of Thailand on 16 January 1962. This date was one of the correct answers in the quiz test, that each of the five teams had to fill out. Another question was who won the Euro 2008 football match between Turkey and Germany – also very relevant to the subject of Thai-Danish Dairy farming!
In the stable, a few cows were ready for our newly learned technique and gentle milking touch. Old farmhands like Parkh and Helga quickly took the lead in showing us how to pull and squeeze the tits in the right rhythm. Parkh further explained the importance of resting your head firmly against the cow’s stomach and then fall asleep, letting your hand do the milking. Back on Fyn, where he had learned all his secrets, the girls would “fla’u’” till the early morning and then sometimes he would come home when the sun was rising and go straight to the stables for the morning milking. Those mornings, this was an extremely useful milking technique.
Now it was time for a historic group photo under the inauguration sign on the farmhouse building which also still decorates the milk cartons from Thai Danish Dairy Farm. In a hundred years, our descendants will look at this photo and think “See! In those days, the Thai Danish community didn’t just meet for parties and to get drunk. They went on educational excursions too!”
Next test was to spot the difference between an ostrich, a camel and a peacock. Most participants passed that one.
We were not too good at the next one, though. That was where we had to rope in four young cows. Maybe we smelled differently from the real cowboys. When these handsome young guys in red shirts roped them in, tied them up, rolled them over and pretended to brand them with a hot iron, the young cows were complacent and almost cooperative. Not so when our guys gave it a go. We couldn’t even get anywhere near them before they rolled their eyes and ran away. I am talking about the cows – not the cowboys. One of the questions in the quiz was actually, which one was the most handsome. The cowboys – not the cows, of course!
Then it was time to taste the stuff and learn how to make yoghurt. For most participants, this was a first insight into the techniques of this delicious dairy product, but it turned out that others were in fact already advanced learners. Leo and Eid Alexandersen, one of the only three Thai-Danish couple on the trip, told us that they actually made their own yoghurt at home already.
Next was a quick visit to the modern production facilities where the our gun carrying guide taught us how milk becomes UHT milk. The key in this process is an Ultra Heat Treatment of the milk at 138 C for three seconds passing through a small nozzle at a pressure of 200 bar. I didn’t know that. An Irish guest Ian, who was there because of his Thai-Danish girl friend, worked with lab control of milk products and could add that the pasteurization was a heat treatment at much lower temperature but for a longer time. I actually knew that, but then it was nice to have it confirmed from an expert.

Ah! And now… lunchtime!
For the break of the day, our tour leaders took us to a very nice restaurant called Krua Nam Tok – the waterfall kitchen – where we had a complete lunch with optional ice-cream and coffee afterwards. The wake-up call after this treatment should have been a walk-rally – you know, a rally where you set up posts in advance where the contestants have to solve various tests, etc. when they get there. However, a prerequisite to this is somebody, who has actually gone in advance and put up the posts and figured out what tests to pass at each post, and this somebody had not done that…
Instead, Jack heroically fought an uphill battle against our creeping sleepiness by asking us first to introduce ourselves and then to play a few social games in the restaurant. The game, which finally succeeding in doing the trick, was the one where three representatives from each colour team were asked to lay down personal belongings and clothing in extension of each other to see, which team can make the longest line. First the obvious things like hats, belts, wallets and socks were put on the line. Then Sawaeng’s team suddenly took the lead because Sawaeng resolutely extended the line with first his shirt – then also with his pants! Standing in his underwear only (white and clean… Thank you Helga!) Sawaeng and his team were declared the clear winners of that test!
Enough about healthy white stuff! Now we focused on the next stop, where we were to learn the the fine art of producing wine in Thailand.
At Khao Yai Winery – also known as PB Valley – we were welcomed and presented with an informative video about what grapes, Khao Yai Winery used to create what wines and other details about the winery. This was a good knowledge foundation which became useful information during the following wine tasting in the shop of the winery. Personally, I preferred the white wine over the red wines and bought a bottle to share with a few friends on Sunday afternoon. Even away from the persuasive environment of the winery, the impression held sway and I am thinking of making this a regular white wine for me to serve at home.
On the way back to Bangkok, we made only one stop around Muak Lek to buy some gifts for friends and family back home or for Monday morning at the office. Disraporn bought some crispy rice cakes and some crispy fried pig skin. Back on the bus we tasted them and because the rice cakes were quite good there are no longer any cakes left to give away. But the crispy fried pig skins tasted bad so never mind, – we will just use them as a gift instead!
Finally, before Jack allowed us all to take a well deserved nap to the tunes of some sweet girlie Thai pop music all the way back to Kasetsart University, President ‘Jew’ Somsiri thanked us for our good company and hoped to see us next time. That is a sure thing! How they do it is a big secret, but somehow these organizers from the Thai-Danish Club really know the formula of making excellent outings!
A great day, indeed!

You can see the selected and many more pictures from the trip in a better size and quality if you follow this link:

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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