I’m sitting here in the middle of lush green rice paddies, 90 km from where we started this morning, but still another 50 km from anything interesting. I chose this tiny “resort”, because I knew 140 km was more than Eric and I could handle in one day and this was the only place I could find…(remember my goal of NOT camping in a temple). The reviews on Agoda read something like this:
Review #1 -“Surprisingly quiet even though it backs to the freeway.”
Review #2 -“They don’t speak English. Don’t stay here unless you are Thai.”
Review #3 – “Good location.”
Thailand has generally been a noisy country – chatty birds, bullfrogs, fireworks, loud music, traffic, trains – so a little freeway noise didn’t scare me.
Pantomime, charades, and folded hands with a very gracious “saw-wa-di-ka” has been good so far, so the fact that they don’t speak English also did not scare me off.
But, review #3…Bingo! Location…Not to mention that there’s not another hotel within 30 km of Unfortunately this resort is NOT close to any towns or restaurants.
However, lucky for us there is a 7-11 about 2 km down the highway. And, even though our legs were numb from the long ride, a junk food dinner at 7-11 seemed better than the other option..not eating. And, lest you feel sad for me, I’ve, once again, become a huge fan of 7-11. The last time I was a fan was when my mom would give my brothers and me money to ride our bikes to the local 7-11 for a Coke Slurpy. Notice a theme here…bicycles and 7-11. But here’s why I like 7-11 today.
1.They are easy to spot. Their trademark green and yellow stripes stand out among all the other pink, lime green, and bright blue signs with curlicue letters cluttering the shop lots and billboards selling anything from motor oil to beauty contests to a cup of noodles for all I can tell. But, seeing the red and green stripes means I can find food, toothpaste, and motor oil degreaser in one place and know I bought these things because I can read the labels.
2. They feel like home. I can browse the aisles and find foods I recognize and brands I know. For example Eric’s favorite raisin bread, or my current snack of Oreo cookies. Or, I can dream of experimenting. For example, I’ve got my eye on the dried seaweed that kids here gobble up like American teenage boys take to beef jerky. And one day I may be hungry enough to try the lonely bacon-wrapped weeny rolling away on the hot-dog cooker since the store opened. Pork on pork…bring it on.
3.They have air-conditioning. Walking in to the almost refrigerator-like box of the convenience store coupled with the evaporative cooling effect from tour sweat soaked cycling shirts makes for a mini vacation from our journey.
4.They have the makings for three square meal per day: grilled cheese sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, cup-o-noodles, dim sum, sushi, microwaveable hamburgers, spaghetti and meat balls – a decent cup of instant coffee. After eating noodles and/or rice three times a day for 5 weeks, a fake-cheese sandwich warmed on a panini styles grill is very appealing.
To those purist backpacker/cyclist types who say, “I’m looking for the real Thailand – the Thailand without 7-11’s on each corner, ” I reply with gusto, “This is the real Thailand of 2014. And, I’m sure the Thai family sitting beside us this evening munching away on their microwaved fast-food dinner was thanking heaven for 7-11, too.”