I know, it’s not easy to get excited about a supermarket. Unless one suddenly materializes almost on your doorstep.
A few weeks ago I drove past a piece of land, just on the edge of Sichon – where I live – and noticed a bare steel structure. It could have been anything in the making, a warehouse, factory, bowling alley (I wish) or, as it turns out, a shopping center.
Only a few weeks before that it was just an empty piece of scrubland. Today, well, it looks like this…
… a fully functioning shopping center, complete with Tesco Lotus, and more.
Until today, shopping for anything more than what I would call odd-and-ends, involved a 90km roundtrip. So, excuse me for being just a little excited because this new apartition will save me about four hours a month in travelling time.
And if you live outside Thailand, you might be wondering why it’s “Tesco Lotus.” Apparently when Tesco first arrived here it joint-ventured with an existing chain called – you guessed it – Lotus. Now, I believe Lotus is very much a minority shareholder, but the combined name has stuck. People roll it off their tongues like it was one word – Tescalotus.
So, of course, I had to check it out. Nice. They seem to have most things I need, including a DTAC store so I can top-up my internet SIM cards without a 120kms hike.
In Tescalotus though, everything seemed a bit new. About half the time I took something from a shelf, the shelf collapsed. Some I manage to catch, and others, well … I imagine they’re still talking about the clumsy farang.
I’m a little concerned I won’t be allowed back. As the only farang in the area, I kind of stick out from the crowd. I’m half expecting to hear “Maintenance to Aisle 3. Follow the farang.”
But the trip was mostly successful, even if I did have to go mountaineering over a pile of boxes to reach the Chang beer. And I found some fairly cheap wine, which I don’t drink so much of these days as the beer is way cheaper. But I believe there is an ancient Thai law that says it’s illegal to watch Formula 1 without a glass of wine, and an F1 weekend is coming up, so … what’s a guy to do eh.
Mostly though, I’m stunned by the speed in which this thing appeared. I’m sure they have blueprints which they follow everytime they build one, and right now they’re following their plans to build a carbon copy of another one somewhere in Thailand; but even so, from bare land to a fully functioning (after they’ve secured the shelves and moved the boxes) shopping center in what seems like only eight weeks, is quite astounding n’est ce pas?