Perspective changes everything.
A few weeks ago, we stopped in Tak on the way from from Mae Sot to Chiang Mai. There is a Tescos and a Big C there–both comparable to Walmart– and a few chain restaurants–Dairy Queen, KFC, and Pizza Company. We stopped to get personal pizzas at Pizza Company for dinner, but got distracted by the Tescos. We ended up walking through the store for over an hour, taking in the variety: countless shirts, types of oil, and kinds of tape.
It’s a big step up from Mae Sot.
As we continued driving and ate our pizza, we commented on how good it was and how fun it was to look through all the things at Tescos. At one point, I said it might worth a Saturday trip–we could come up to have a fun meal and shop a little.
Then I caught myself, because I simply can’t let a few hours in Tescos and greasy food from a chain restaurant be considered a day out; I just couldn’t bring myself to that. It doesn’t really matter if it reminds me of the West, because it’s the no-so-wonderful parts of the West. And, no matter why, I just can’t do it: I won’t judge you if you will, but I can’t.
Fast forward about six days, and we were returning from Chiang Mai after a week of really wonderful Western food, staying in a hotel, and even shopping amidst many people and lots of traffic. We stopped again in Tak for dinner as we drove through. And this time, the conversation was more along the lines of how this pizza wasn’t as good as we remembered and how there wasn’t anything special we wanted to look for in Tescos.
We returned to Mae Sot, and I was struck by how small it felt. As we rode the motorbike through town that evening, I commented on how it feels like a small town, and it was refreshing to be back.
Yesterday, we returned from nine days in two refugee camps along the border. They are small and remote, taking two or three hours of 4WD to get there.
I was driving as we pulled back into Mae Sot and said, “Look at all these cars! This place is crazy!”
It’s interesting how our perspective changes everything.