In Asia, there is a particular store that is a godsend, or I should say, an America-send. 7-11. It’s a small piece of American business savvy in Asia that you can always rely on when you’re a backpacker in need. What need you might ask?
Well that depends on in what situation you find yourself. Sometimes, or more like all of the time, its hot. 7-11 provides a room in which Air Conditioning has given its blessing. But that is really just the tip of the iceberg. Since it’s always Saturday when you travel, it’s easy to lose track of time and find yourself hungry at 12:30 AM. There’s no T-Bell or Jack in the Box in site to satisfy your craving, but you can bet there is a 7-11 slingin’ chips and slurpees on your street 24/7. And if not the one you’re currently on, well, just walk around the corner. Don’t believe me? My friends and I booked a few nights in a beach bungalow on the tropical island of Koh Phangan. When it came time to buy some beers to start off the night, we knew 7-11 was the cheapest option, one that never had “tourist” prices. Not only that, the bottle opener under the register helps get your night started before you even leave the comfort of A/C. But before I digress too far on other perks of 7-11, back to our search for one of these glorious establishments. We set out toward the main road, only to realize almost immediately that plants growing into cracks in our particular bungalow were also lining the back of, you guessed it, a 7-11. How perfectly convenient. I’m showering mere feet from the red, orange and green. And backpackers aren’t the only ones to realize the brilliance of this operation. Copy cats and fake 7-11s abound. From their name (7-Mart), their colors, and the look of their logo, many have tried gallantly to recreate a 7-11 for themselves, but any seasoned backpacker knows immediately when they have walked into a bogus sleven. “This is the weirdest 7-11 I’ve ever been in….Wait a second. Nice try Thailand.”
Very Important Update – 5/23/12
From a particular location on particular street in Bangkok, it is possible to spy 4 7-11s without moving anything but your neck. Can you beat that?