Without the constant mental mantra of find water, find food, find a free-camp running through my mind, I find I am more relaxed. Here in Thailand, there is abundance. Food is plentiful, in the form of vendors and markets generally only a few steps away. We have easy access to clean water from the numerous reverse-osmosis purified water dispensers in every town, where we fill up a huge jug for one baht (approximately three cents) per liter. And finally, there are a wealth of cheap places to stay which are usually really nice.
With our basic survival taken care of as a matter of course, there are more fun things to do, namely, cycle flat roads, wave and say hello to the hundreds of kids who shout greetings to us each day, drink iced coffee, and plan the next projects in our lives. Life after this trip has become a favorite topic of conversation; Tyler and I never tire of scheming and dreaming about our future, all the while enjoying the present moment.
Nearing our destination, we stop at a market to indulge in some tasty fried chicken, drizzled in Thai sweet chili sauce. After our delicious snack, we cycle into town and begin the inevitable search for lodging. The first hotel we visit is a dank, uninviting little prison. We're really beginning to wish we'd brought our tent.
The second hotel is no better, and the third is only slightly nicer, but comes with a bizarre gaggle of creepy drunken middle-aged women hula hooping out in front. The whole place gives us a weird vibe, so we pass. After nearly two years on the road, we're willing to run the risk of a drawn-out, exhausting search for accommodation. Having a good night's sleep in a comfortable home away from home is essential to our happiness right now.
So, we take to the road once more, and sure enough, we find a beautiful bungalow off of a quiet little road outside of town. This clean, secluded, air-conditioned place, set in a lush garden, is so nice that we may even stay two days. The only drawback we can see is our lack of cheap food right outside the door. As it will turn out, we'll just have to walk across the street to find a delicious meal. Tough times!
It's dark already, and our jungly side road is alive with the croaking of frogs and the chirping of insects. Fences and walls are covered in these cool little guys:
Out on the main road, there are lights in the distance. As we approach, we're relieved to see that it's a restaurant!
We're seated outside, and shown a buffet of raw foods. We're not sure what we're supposed do exactly, but the server brings us a little grill. She puts some charcoal in, lights it, and places some raw chicken on top after greasing it with a piece of what looks like lard. It's a do-it-yourself meal; we cook chicken and noodles, vegetables with a variety of sauces.
After we're good and full, we pay, take a moment to check out the fish tanks, and then head home for a quiet night in our cozy little bungalow.