Chiang Mai, Thailand–On a sticky morning near the beginning of Thailand’s Wet Season, the temperature hit 95 Fahrenheit, and was projected to continue climbing. Roosters awakened ahead of schedule, alarmed from the incoming heat. The cicada’s drone followed, disseminating through the air as one unchanging tone like lawnmowers on a day in spring. Air Conditioning was scarce, shade elusive, and after a brief tour of some of Northern Thailand’s marvels, we collapsed into our dorm room beds. Nothing compares to the midday reds. You stand up too quickly and boom, syncope, a blood rush to the head. Days like these are common, and can only be quelled by one thing, sitting back down. Sitting down, with an ice cold beer.
Thailand’s lagers, both famous and infamous in their own ways, are a convenient remedy ready to be plucked from your hostel’s refrigerator, or one of the thousand 7-11’s across the country. The beers are infamous because they aren’t anything close to what you’d call world class (see Chang-over), but famous as they do play a critical role in a traveler’s everyday life. They are a home base, a ceremonial siesta, where backpackers convene and stories begin.