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Chiang Mai Citylife > Articles > 2009 > 2009 Issue 06 > Thirst for Knowledge: Never Too Old to Learn

Thirst for Knowledge: Never Too Old to Learn

June, 2009.
James

Course: IGroom Dog Grooming Certificate

Objective:
Get to grips with styling narcissistic canines

Learning Outcomes:
I didn’t have 180 hours, the time it takes to acquire the certification to open your own dog salon. I did however have two hours, the time it takes to do a bit of trimming, styling and nail cutting. The customers all seemed quite pleasant, if not a little bit over excited at having a farang do the job, although the ageing shitsu with an anger problem was not overly blithe about having his disgusting nails lopped off. They bled … he shouldn’t have moved. The poodle with the dandelion head was proof I wasn’t too bad at the job, in another 178 hours I’d have been sculpting models out of the alopecic canine urchins that plague CMU at night. IGroom believes in transformation, no mutt is too ugly to be made over. Whether you just want to learn to cut your own dog’s fur or want to open your own business, this bilingual grooming salon can teach you how to shave, shear and comb any kind of canine. Was I ready to become a barber of posh dogs? No, not really.

Personal Grade:
F (failed miserably at nail clipping and grappling)
Other Courses Available: Fur dyeing

Details:
For flexible one on one classes or group classes. 25,000 baht for the 180 hour certification course. IGroom is also a salon where your dog can be pampered and made to look like a Hollywood actor. Opposite McCormick hospital. Tel: 053 260 464.
www.i-grooms.com

Course: Singing Class at Woranan School of Music

Objective:
To find out if I could sing

Learning Outcomes:
Getting down to business with Ittinan ‘Teh’ Intaranan, owner of the school and musician extraordinaire, I was slightly nervous having never really been asked to sing on demand. He took me through the scales and said I didn’t do bad at all, he then make it a little more difficult, mixing up the scales and taking me to a higher pitch. He told me I was some kind of tenor – the squeaky kind I think – and said, “not bad at all.” I had managed to keep in tune though still felt slightly abashed at having to sing more la la la repetitions than combined in my entire life up to now. Ittinan, in perfect English – he’d studied music in Berkley and Boston – explained that even a tone deaf kid can reverse his vocal dysfunction with a bit of breathing, vocalising and projecting practice. After a good bit of practice you can go on to sing your favourite tunes or even become a professional. Woranan Music is more about contemporary music than classical, so anyone wanting to learn Jazz, Pop, Rock, will be very suited here.

What did I learn:
I’m no Johnny Cash or Kurt Cobain, but I reckon I could do a few Radiohead numbers.

Personal Grade:
Personally I’d ask Ittinan – who I thought was being kind to me, but I’ll still give myself a B+.

Other Courses Available:
They have over 20 teachers teaching students of all ages and nationalities every kind of instrument. They are fluent in English and actually specialise in western music.

Details:
The singing course is 1,900 baht per month. You can arrange hours with the school for courses and times. www.worananmusic.com Tel: 053 328 387. Follow Suthep Road (Soi 5) almost to CMU entrance, on the left side there’s a big garden with children’s playing equipment in it. The school is at the back of the garden.

Jessica

Course: Tibetan Kung Fu

Objective:
To learn how to kick some ass

Learning Outcomes:
After watching way too many movies, I thought a front kick would be easy. Boy was I wrong, I joined in a beginners’ class that had been going for three weeks and struggled to keep up. In my hour and half class I tried to learn the proper footwork without tripping myself, as well as the sidekick, the front kick, round kick and how to block. A great way to get into, and stay in, shape, it is good for balance, mental and physical health.

Personal Grade:
D, almost falling flat on my face while working on my footwork was not a good sign

Other Courses Available:
Tai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong, and Thai Yoga.

Details:
Classes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. 3,000 baht for a month
43 Chiang Moi Kao Road Tel: 053 252 523
[email protected] www.kungfuchiangmai.com

Course: Top Rope Rock Climbing Course and Caving Course

Objective:
To climb to high peaks and explore the depths of the underworld

Learning Outcomes:
What an amazing course! Way, way above my expectations, unlike rock climbing on the touristy southern islands, where they link you to a rope and tell you to get climbing, Thailand Climbing teaches you to tie knots, belay and helps you develop the fundamentals you need to be a responsible and knowledgeable climber.

Rock climbing makes you push both your body and mind; the feeling of accomplishment when you make it to the top is unforgettable, especially with the breathtaking views. I tested my limits and found that I was more out of shape than I thought, swearing to go to the gym more often. Repelling 40 metres down into darkness is unbelievable, even with all the ropes, you feel like you are flying. A great course to make friends and become part of a community – that’s what happens when you put your life, and rope, into someone’s hands.

Personal Grade:
B+, made it to the top or bottom every time and survived to talk about it

Other Courses Available:
Top Rope, Lead Climbing, Caving, Multi-pitch & Specialised courses, Bouldering, plus many special events please check their website for more details.

Details:
Top Rock course 2,795 baht. Caving course 2,995 baht. Courses available daily but please book in advance.
55/3 Ratchapakhinai Road Tel: 053 207 102
[email protected] www.thailandclimbing.com

Still Thirsty?

Why not learn to ride Thailand’s biggest land mammals, the elephant, at Mahout School www.maesaelephantcamp.com. Or learn to move chairs around with Fung Shui www.floweringmoon.com. Get your creative juices flowing with Drawing and Painting classes at www.artspacechiangmai.com, Jewellery Workshops www.nova-collection.com/artlab Vegetable and Fruit Carving at Suan Bua Hotel & Resort Tel 053 365 270 and Batik Painting www.chiangmaibatikschool.com or style yourself to the nines with Uangdoi Design Dressmaking School www.uangdoidesignschool.com.

Get physical and dance the night away with Ballet, Hip-Hop, Tap, and Flamenco classes www.chiangmai-ballet.com or slow down the pace with Tai Chi 089 9555350, Chi Kung www.chikungthailand.com Yoga www.yogachiangmai.com or Meditation www.fivethousandyears.org.

Go rough and learn how to Survive in the Jungle www.track-of-the-tiger.com but if just surviving ain’t enough, you can take a Survival Cooking course www.thepeakadventure.com. Want more practical cooking? Learn to cook Italian from the best at Beccofino’s Cooking Class www.beccofino.co.th (June only) or Thai Cooking course www.thaicookeryschool.com.

For some exercise try Kayak and White Water Rafting www.siamrivers.com or do the touristy thing with Muay Thai www.lannamuaythai.com, Thai massage www.tmcschool.com Thai Dance and Traditional Musical Instruments www.banrakthai.com or finally get out of the habit of hand signals by learning Thai with www.auathailand.org.