Returning To Farangland Part 4: The Cost Of …
The Cost of …
When I first started travelling to Thailand 10 years ago, a Canadian loonie (dollar) would purchase 32 baht. Nowadays, a loonie buys about 23 baht. Despite having a very good income, I have realized that Thailand is no longer the bargain it used to be for Canadians. Having said that, Florida is no longer the bargain it used to be for Canadians either. Ten years ago, the Canadian loonie was trading at par with the US dollar and now trades at about 74 cents to the US dollar. I assume that the Euro, Pound Sterling, Australian dollar etc. have also fallen in step. Asia is on the rise (as is the US, I guess) and the rest of the world falls.
Bargains are still to be had (if not bargirls at bargains) in Thailand. Take for example, the cola that I pull out of the cooler at 7/11 in Thailand. It is about 12 or 15 baht (depending on size) and here in Canada at the local convenience store the same cola is $2.25 (plus 13% PST/GST) or about 10 times the cost. When Thavorn asks me why, I tell her it depends on the number of people that touched it before it arrives in your hand. However, go to Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada and you can buy 18 cans of Pepsi for $4.99 (plus 13% GST/PST). That is a great price. Needless to say, Thavorn and I have become shrewd shoppers in Canada.
In Thailand I considered it cheaper to eat out (at least street food) than cooking in. In Canada, forget about dining out daily (or weekly, maybe even monthly). In Thailand I eat at a decent restaurant for what I pay for the gratuity here in Canada. In Canada, waiting staff expect a 20% tip for providing average service and 25% for great service. This Farang cheap Charlie stands by the 15% I am accustomed to.
Beer prices at pubs in Canada are about the same as Thailand, but arrive at your table without the Thai hotties. There is a dearth of places an older (read 60ish) male or female can go for entertainment and fit in. Most folks my age are mall walking in the morning and then meeting at Tim Horton’s to complain about the weather, taxes, and politics. Not for me!
My income would permit me to take 3 or 4 ocean cruises a year, but the thought of another cruise makes me shiver ?. Cruise ships (and folks that like them) just don’t do it for me. I am way more comfortable hobnobbing with expats and bargirls in Cowboy or Nana. I like to say that everybody dies but not everybody lives. Cruise ships patrons are waiting to die.
I have been meeting with various friends over the past few months and invariably when I ask them what they are up to, I get the same answer, ‘Same as last year’. In reality, the same as the last decade. After they retire it seems they are just putting in time. Very much like the Meatloaf song, ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’. Most of my friends are married, seldom happy in their marriage, merely content with their life. Meatloaf sums it up like:
‘Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don’t think that I can really survive
I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow
But god only knows what I can do right now
I’m praying for the end of time
It’s all that I can do (oh oh oh)
Praying for the end of time, so I can end my life with you’
That was me. I was married for 32 years and divorced after 35 years, left with nothing but my pension and business. I have never been happier and when my friends ask me why I tell them I have embraced minimalism and it is just like being back in my university days ?
I don’t own much, but I always have money for beer, don’t have to work and wake up each and every morning and decide what I want to do, and have a lovely girlfriend to spend my time with.
Until next time …