Order Tara's Bicycle Touring Cookbook Today!

Working in Dong Khi Lek

by Tara

Stopped for a few days, we're enjoying the peace and quiet around the palm-lined property of our hotel. There's a temple nearby whose meditative music drifts in on the breeze, giving us a pleasant soundtrack as we work on our various projects.

There aren't any other tourists here with which to share the hotel, but there is a huge iguana languidly lazing around, usually on a high rafter beam in the hotel's restaurant. I honestly thought he was as fake as the tiger in the garden, until he climbed down one day and shuffled over to say hello. I have to admit I like the strange, scaly dude better when he's perched on a beam overhead than when he's crawling towards me!

Palm Garden Lodge Iguana Chillin' Palm Garden Lodge View Palm Garden Lodge Flowers Palm Garden Lodge Tiger

When hunger pangs rouse us from our working, we walk over to the late afternoon/evening market for some snacks. As always, there's fishy, tangy som tam, crispy fried chicken, peanutty pad thai, and numerous other tasty finds.

Tara Waiting for Som Tam Market Woman and Grilled Fish Thai Market Girl Thai Market Man with Smoky Sausages Market Women Selling Eggs

As we browse the fresh foods, we're serenaded by tunes emanating from the stall of DVDs and CDs, where a a TV shows off the music videos available for purchase. One of the butchers selling freshly hacked meat likes to clap along to the beat, and he smiles at me as I pass.

If the desire to snack on something should arise after 9PM sharp, we find ourselves with the hotel gate closed and padlocked. Attempts to fiddle with the lock are met with a yippy dog who sounds the alarm, and a crotchety woman who comes running madly towards us looking mightily displeased. She informs us indignantly that it is simply too late. We are not allowed to leave.

We don't take well to rules and regulations and especially, curfews. So, when the lady departs in a huff, yappy dog at her heels, we climb over the tall wall like a pair of convicts on the run. We jump to the ground and then run off giggling towards the 7-11 or night market. My coconut shake with whipped cream on top tastes even better when it's been clandestinely earned.

Coconut Smoothie with Whipped Cream Woman Making Som Tam Night Market Pastry Seller

Snacks in hand, we walk back to the hotel, looking around furtively for any passersby. When the coast is clear, we shove our delicious spoils through the narrow slats in the wall, and then hoist ourselves back over, feet landing on soft turf beneath a palm tree. Feeling oh so clever and rebellious, we slink back to our room, completely undetected by both yippy dog and crotchety gate-keeper.