I’m sitting in a farang restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I’m there for the fast wifi and cold beer, eating a cheeseburger. An American man sitting next to me decides to chime in: “I see you’ve come halfway across the world to eat American food.”
Now, this is a tourist place — their Thai food sucks. It’s toned down for Westerners. If you want real Thai food, you go to a place with plastic tables and chairs and sit in the heat. He’s eating what appears to be the worst plate of pad thai ever made. They don’t even have chili in this joint. If you ask for chili, they bring you a bottle of tabasco.
“How long have you been in Thailand?” I ask.
“The wife and I have been here for six days now. We’ve got a couple more before flying back.”
“Oh. That’s nice.” I just let the comment hang there — I’m not going to give him the satisfaction of explaining my story.
And, of course, after a minute he takes the bait. “How long have you been traveling?”
“Four years. I’ve eaten my body weight in Thai food. And sometimes I just want a friggin’ burger.”
That pretty much ends the conversation.