Reporting from Across the Pacific

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parrot
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Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by parrot » March 26, 2020, 9:33 am

So, we've been 'marooned' in Texas since mid-Feb. Our return flight in mid-May is very questionable, but too early yet to know if it'll be cancelled (ANA airline).
We've been living in Thailand for 23 years.....big fans of life there. More pluses than minuses. We've taken a vacation here about 15 times.....naturally, when we're here, we can see the pluses of living in the US.......but after we've returned to Thailand, we always count our blessing. My post isn't meant to say anything is better/worse here or there.....merely observations of things in the US (Covid 19 related and not).

Because we're in a large city, there are countless places to shop for groceries. After the first week or two of panic buying, most have settled into buying what's available.....most of the big stores are limiting items to one or two per customer. If the store is out of chicken, you buy beef or pork or sausages. We've not seen any panic buying. Once the stores realized the situation, they got a handle on things. Stocking shelves throughout the day as new supplies arrived. We were in a Walmart a few days ago to pick up some supplies and spotted a large pallet in the middle of the aisle with 2 bags of Jasmine rice in the middle of the pallet. We needed rice but the stockers were working in another aisle. I went to the back to get milk and a man wheeled out another pallet full of paper products. He didn't need to unload.....customers lined up and he handed out two packs per customer. By the time we were ready to cash out, the rice pallet was open and we got a bag of rice.

We're getting 150mbps up/down in the jungle in Udon for peanuts. Our daughter pays almonds for about 50mbps and there are more hiccups with her speeds than I've experienced for nearly 2 years of having fiber optic in Udon. Count your blessings.

Naturally going to a liquor store is always a pleasure in the US. I don't drink much in Udon, but on vacation......I'm on vacation. I've often wondered how the Thai government stays funded.......I guess liquor taxes pay a good chunk of their bills.

Our daughter's neighbor had a large palm taken out of their backyard. A crew of 4 spent most of the day cutting it down, pulling the roots, then grinding it all up. $900. Our daughter spent $2000 to have about 7 oaks canopied and hauled off.....3 workers put in a full day and a few evening hours. In November in Udon, I hired a villager to help our gardener take down 5 or 6 50' pine trees in our yard. Our gardener called a friend to haul off the logs. Total bill less than $30.

In the time we've been here, I haven't seen a single vehicle coming at me in my lane. 70mph is typical on the highways.....80 on the toll road near Austin. I can drive here at night because of better lighting and reflective paint on the roads. Nightime driving in Thailand is becoming more difficult as I get older.

Our daughter took her 100 lb german shepherd to the vet in Feb. You don't want to go to the vet in the US after you've become accustomed to prices in Thailand.

Online banking in Thailand is easier than in the US.

If you have a gardener in Thailand, you're spoiled rotten (I am). My daughter and I picked up 3 truckloads of compost (free from the city).....3700 pounds worth.....but we had to unload it ourselves and wheelbarrow it then spread it ourselves. I'm spoiled rotten.

Gas is cheaper here than there......signs today for $1.64 a gallon.

Milk is half the price of Thailand.

Harbor Freight used to sell cheap Chinese tools. Now they sell high quality Chinese tools for the same prices as the cheap version. I've sort of been of the opinion that, while the quality of such things in Thailand has improved greatly over the 20+ years, Thailand is getting less quality than what's in the US (it's 90%+ all Chinese made, no matter the name)

56v litium powered tools now available......lawnmowers, chainsaws, etc. Our daughter's had a 40v Ryobi blower for 5 years and it's still working well. I don't think I've seen any more than a 24v battery operated tool in Udon.

Society here runs on apps........bank apps, shopping apps, open your garage door when your anywhere in the world with an app so Amazon can slip the delivery package into the garage when you're gone. If you don't have an app for your garage door, you probably have a Nest at the front door. The Nest will text you when anyone approaches the door.....and the Amazon delivery guy will take a photo of the package at your door and text it to you.

Jasmine rice here costs only a bit more than in Thailand, about $26 for 25lbs. Beyond that, your fish sauce, morning glory, Thai herbs, and condiments cost much much much more.

And finally, for today, every time I pass the Hallmark aisle in the grocery store I look and see if anyone is buying a card. Nope. Same as the greeting card aisle in Robinsons.

More later.



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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by Shado » March 26, 2020, 10:09 am

Enjoyed the read parrot. We were supposed to leave for the States on 10 May to attend my son's wedding and to visit my sister in Arlington, Texas but of course, reservations cancelled now. Was looking forward to some of the things not available here but can wait a while longer. Best of luck with sorting your return trip.

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by parrot » March 27, 2020, 4:04 am

Thursday is the day when the best Viet grocery store in the city restocks fresh veggies. Here are a few prices for those who like to complain about the cost of their favorite beverage in comparison to their home country:
1 lb frozen thai chilies: $3.79
1 qt fish sauce 2.79
Thai eggplant 1.49/lb
green papaya 1.29/lb
long green beans 3.49/lb
basil 1.49 per bunch
water spinich (pak buung) 2.49/lb
pickled mud fish 1 small jar 6.49
small pack of frozen galanga 1.99
jasmine rice 29.99/25lb (price increase)

So, assuming you're in your home country with a Thai spouse, your cost savings on cheese/beverages/your favorite things will likely be made up by the wife's weekly trip to stock up on jungle things. Today's bill.....$109.75.
I should add........my wife, daughter, and I are largely eating Thai food at least twice a day as going out to eat is pretty much off the menu.

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by samster » March 27, 2020, 3:50 pm

Interesting comparison.

Back in the UK, my girlfriend and I spent an average of £230 per month (THB 9,200) on groceries last year. We have been stranded in the UK for 15 days now and spent £254 (THB 10,160) so, roughly double, taking into account my fridge is full here whereas we live day to day in Thailand.

I know it's a bit sad that I keep records but I just love numbers!!!!

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by parrot » March 28, 2020, 2:04 am

On the positive side (r.f.a.t.p)......it's comforting to hear people like Gov Cuomo (NY) or Dr Fauci or LtGen Semonite give briefings on the status of things in the US.....as dire as they are in some places.
On the negative side.......again r.t.a.t.p.......why have the numbers in Thailand not ballooned as they have in other countries, despite being exposed to the virus earlier, despite being a developing country with less hygiene than developed countries? Although there have been accusations of the government underreporting, I think it's too widespread amongst the social media presence inThailand to keep things under wraps. Last I looked (or remember looking), the population in Italy and Thailand are about the same.......and the numbers coming from Italy are frightening.

Also, why can James Dyson design and manufacture a ventilator 10 days after being called by Boris Johnson......but the powerhouse GM will take much longer at a much higher cost? Along that line, I cringe at the idea that the US apparently is way behind the power curve on paper marks for health care workers....with increasing numbers reporting they have to reuse masks between patients. Paper masks! (as I was thinking about that this morning, I remembered visiting a villager who was in ICU at Udon Gen around 2002. As I was walking around the hospital, I saw hospital gloves being washed and hung on a clothes dryer near that ward. Were they gloves the nurses/doctors were using? I was too afraid to ask......again that was nearly 20 years ago).

Finally, in the growing list of things we all grew up remembering, such as phone numbers for all our friends, but no longer do because of smartphones...........add these to the list:
Ok, google.....turn on/off the kitchen lights (turn them on to 25% or 76% or 98% or 100%), Ok, google, turn on/off the living room tv or the bedroom tv or turn up/down the volume. I was reminded of this convenience when I asked my daughter where the remote was. She told me she doesn't need it to do those things.
Ok, google, open/close the garage door from anywhere in the world. Or linking that app to Amazon so the Amazon delivery person can do it himself and slip the package into the garage, take a photo of it sitting there, and then close the door from anywhere in the world.....on your smartphone.
Ok, google, unlock/lock the front door.......when a friend arrives at your front door while you're away....and your app tells you someone is at the front door. You see the face, you talk with the person, she tells you she has a plate of fresh lasagna for you.....you unlock the door, she puts the plate inside the door and leaves, and you lock the door......from anywhere in the world.
Remote garage door opener, TV remote, front door keys, light switches.....they're all still there......but the newer generation is less or not dependent on them. One last before I forget.....our daughter has two roombas.......they clean the floors on google demand.......again, from anywhere in the world.
Naturally, if you're more comfortable using the wringer on your washing machine to remove the excess water from a load of wash, you can still do that if you're fearful of allowing technology to do that for you.
That's all from across the pond......for now.

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by noosard » March 28, 2020, 6:46 am

good to read thanks Parrot

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by Drunk Monkey » March 28, 2020, 7:09 am

noosard wrote:
March 28, 2020, 6:46 am
good to read thanks Parrot
Yes i second that

Some very interesting comparisons... i can relate to the gardening point , i love a nicely manicured patch but aint no Percy Thrower so whenst up in the village i get 4 local women to come every month to do my garden , they work 8am till 5pm very hard , 2 cut and trim the grass 1 rai , another weeds prunes and the last in her 60s cleans up n makes the tea .. i nicknamed them the spice girls and they get 300 bt each which is more than they get anywhere else plus few beers and teach them Scunny lingo as well which is priceless .. we recently sat down after they had finished n enjoyed Belhaven stout in nitro draft can ..i spoil them !!! they loved it.

Waht would a team of 4 gardeners cost a full day in the UK /US ?? ..

dm
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L2 Season 19/20 Codheads 0 Scunny 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2qrsItFUug
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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by saint » March 28, 2020, 9:54 am

Drunk Monkey wrote:
March 28, 2020, 7:09 am
noosard wrote:
March 28, 2020, 6:46 am
good to read thanks Parrot
Yes i second that

Some very interesting comparisons... i can relate to the gardening point , i love a nicely manicured patch but aint no Percy Thrower so whenst up in the village i get 4 local women to come every month to do my garden , they work 8am till 5pm very hard , 2 cut and trim the grass 1 rai , another weeds prunes and the last in her 60s cleans up n makes the tea .. i nicknamed them the spice girls and they get 300 bt each which is more than they get anywhere else plus few beers and teach them Scunny lingo as well which is priceless .. we recently sat down after they had finished n enjoyed Belhaven stout in nitro draft can ..i spoil them !!! they loved it.

Waht would a team of 4 gardeners cost a full day in the UK /US ?? ..

dm
Where i used to live around 500 pounds , but in Scunphorpe , bearing in mind exchange rates probably around a score .
:lol: :lol: :lol:
Yes Mr parrot a truly interesting read . Oh did you know someones looking for a cage for you ?
Stay sharp and stay safe .

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by Drunk Monkey » March 28, 2020, 9:58 am

saint wrote:
March 28, 2020, 9:54 am
Drunk Monkey wrote:
March 28, 2020, 7:09 am
noosard wrote:
March 28, 2020, 6:46 am
good to read thanks Parrot
Yes i second that

Some very interesting comparisons... i can relate to the gardening point , i love a nicely manicured patch but aint no Percy Thrower so whenst up in the village i get 4 local women to come every month to do my garden , they work 8am till 5pm very hard , 2 cut and trim the grass 1 rai , another weeds prunes and the last in her 60s cleans up n makes the tea .. i nicknamed them the spice girls and they get 300 bt each which is more than they get anywhere else plus few beers and teach them Scunny lingo as well which is priceless .. we recently sat down after they had finished n enjoyed Belhaven stout in nitro draft can ..i spoil them !!! they loved it.

Waht would a team of 4 gardeners cost a full day in the UK /US ?? ..

dm
Where i used to live around 500 pounds , but in Scunphorpe , bearing in mind exchange rates probably around a score .
:lol: :lol: :lol:
Yes Mr parrot a truly interesting read . Oh did you know someones looking for a cage for you ?
Stay sharp and stay safe .
Gardens in Scunthorpe .. that should be on the joke thread mate ... its called waste land and quickly snaffled by the pikeys or a burger van.

DM
Claret n Blue all way thru .. Up the Iron
L2 Season 19/20 Codheads 0 Scunny 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2qrsItFUug
8 minutes is the point of lift off !!!!!!!

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by noosard » March 28, 2020, 10:02 am

Gardens in Scunthorpe .. that should be on the joke thread mate ... its called waste land and quickly snaffled by the pikeys or a burger van.


So stink daisys would have trouble growing???

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by parrot » March 30, 2020, 1:38 am

When we arrived in Texas in mid-Feb, I sensed that people would be hoarding things like tissue, etc. I searched for bidets in the US.....Amazon had several varieties available...........a month later, they were 'unavailable'. I emailed one of the manufacturers in Florida and they said they were backlogged because of the Covid 19 outbreak......but they put one in the mail 3 days later. That's installed. We found a second through another manufacturer and it delivered this morning (Amazon delivers on Sundays). Both are very good quality but not the typical 150-300 Baht bidet you'd buy in the US. Both cost about $60 each.
I'm interested in the longterm changes to society that this pandemic will bring....to Thailand and to the rest of the world. I'm not sure the US will embrace the bidet the way Thais do or the ways Americans embrace Thai food.......but at least I know one house in Texas that has two bidets now that didn't have any before the virus.
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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by Drunk Monkey » March 30, 2020, 6:07 am

parrot wrote:
March 30, 2020, 1:38 am
When we arrived in Texas in mid-Feb, I sensed that people would be hoarding things like tissue, etc. I searched for bidets in the US.....Amazon had several varieties available...........a month later, they were 'unavailable'. I emailed one of the manufacturers in Florida and they said they were backlogged because of the Covid 19 outbreak......but they put one in the mail 3 days later. That's installed. We found a second through another manufacturer and it delivered this morning (Amazon delivers on Sundays). Both are very good quality but not the typical 150-300 Baht bidet you'd buy in the US. Both cost about $60 each.
I'm interested in the longterm changes to society that this pandemic will bring....to Thailand and to the rest of the world. I'm not sure the US will embrace the bidet the way Thais do or the ways Americans embrace Thai food.......but at least I know one house in Texas that has two bidets now that didn't have any before the virus.
Arrr the good old bum gun !!! a bargain and soon get your investment back with the saving on bog roll ... 20 yrs ago there were just buckets at the side of the toilets and it was a hand job here .... then the bum gun arrived in cheap plastic form .. since it has morphed and the range both in quality and price is huge 200 bt to imported toppa the range 4k .. i recently bought Haffele brand (spelling) at 1200 bt and its a joy to blast away those cling ons ..

DM
Claret n Blue all way thru .. Up the Iron
L2 Season 19/20 Codheads 0 Scunny 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2qrsItFUug
8 minutes is the point of lift off !!!!!!!

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by parrot » March 30, 2020, 9:30 am

'its a joy to blast away those cling ons ..'
Thanks, Jon. I sent your tip to a friend of ours, a Star Wars fan and interested in all things Thai,

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by jackspratt » March 30, 2020, 9:45 am

I wouldn't hurry back if I were you, John - some bugger wants to stick you in a cage after you return. :shock:

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by parrot » March 31, 2020, 10:05 pm

Random thoughts as the days pass by:

I wonder what the long term effects of the pandemic, financial uncertainty, and loss of jobs is going to do to expats and those considering being expats. I'll guess the numbers will drop considerably.....but where and by how much.....anybody's guess I guess.

I sense that we're becoming a no-touch-no-feelie society, at least in place and at least during the pandemic. When you're wheeling your cart around a grocery store, people are wheeling well around you rather than into you. Most grocery stores are single set of doors to enter and another set of doors to exit.....I guess to avoid the typical close contact of passing customers under normal circumstances. Several grocery stores has ?security guards/constables? near the entrance.......although I've not seen or heard of anyone creating a scene.....yet.

Along the lines of becoming a n-t-n-f society, it's time to ditch credit cards/debit cards/atm machines. You can go into most bathrooms in the US now and you don't have to flush, turn on the water, dispense soap or paper towels.....because it's all automatic. But you still have to press a screen multiple times to cash out if you're using a card. Using cash is even worse........though, with the exception of some older folks, I haven't seen many people using cash since we've been in Texas. I told myself I'd use google pay/samsung pay more on this trip.........it's time to buckle down and get with the younger generation.

Part of my daily dose of meditation is listening to the evening news with Lester Holt. He's sort of the modern day Walter Cronkite. Just give me the facts and leave the political leanings to Fox and Friends.

Back to n-t-n-f......count your blessings in Thailand........unless things have changed in the past 6 weeks, you're still having your gas pumped for you. Not in the US.....at least, no full service stations that I've come across.

I said it before, but Isia, count your internet speed blessings in Thailand. My fiber speeds in the jungle blast past the speeds in a major Texas city....at a fraction of the price.

Our daughter has 5 gallon jugs of "purified reverse-osmosis oxygenated 9.5 ph" water delivered to the house every month at $7.50 a clip. We drink 9.0 ph pure well water in Thailand for free. No need for a filter or r.o or lugging jugs.

That's all for now.

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by Udon Map » March 31, 2020, 10:26 pm

parrot wrote:
March 31, 2020, 10:05 pm
Part of my daily dose of meditation is listening to the evening news with Lester Holt. He's sort of the modern day Walter Cronkite. Just give me the facts and leave the political leanings to Fox and Friends.
Completely agree with you, both about U.S. news programs generally, and Lester Holt specifically. I just want the facts. When I want opinions, I know where to get them.

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by anefarious1 » March 31, 2020, 10:42 pm

parrot wrote:
March 31, 2020, 10:05 pm
Random thoughts as the days pass by:

I wonder what the long term effects of the pandemic, financial uncertainty, and loss of jobs is going to do to expats and those considering being expats. I'll guess the numbers will drop considerably.....but where and by how much.....anybody's guess I guess.

I sense that we're becoming a no-touch-no-feelie society, at least in place and at least during the pandemic. When you're wheeling your cart around a grocery store, people are wheeling well around you rather than into you. Most grocery stores are single set of doors to enter and another set of doors to exit.....I guess to avoid the typical close contact of passing customers under normal circumstances. Several grocery stores has ?security guards/constables? near the entrance.......although I've not seen or heard of anyone creating a scene.....yet.

Along the lines of becoming a n-t-n-f society, it's time to ditch credit cards/debit cards/atm machines. You can go into most bathrooms in the US now and you don't have to flush, turn on the water, dispense soap or paper towels.....because it's all automatic. But you still have to press a screen multiple times to cash out if you're using a card. Using cash is even worse........though, with the exception of some older folks, I haven't seen many people using cash since we've been in Texas. I told myself I'd use google pay/samsung pay more on this trip.........it's time to buckle down and get with the younger generation.

Part of my daily dose of meditation is listening to the evening news with Lester Holt. He's sort of the modern day Walter Cronkite. Just give me the facts and leave the political leanings to Fox and Friends.

Back to n-t-n-f......count your blessings in Thailand........unless things have changed in the past 6 weeks, you're still having your gas pumped for you. Not in the US.....at least, no full service stations that I've come across.

I said it before, but Isia, count your internet speed blessings in Thailand. My fiber speeds in the jungle blast past the speeds in a major Texas city....at a fraction of the price.

Our daughter has 5 gallon jugs of "purified reverse-osmosis oxygenated 9.5 ph" water delivered to the house every month at $7.50 a clip. We drink 9.0 ph pure well water in Thailand for free. No need for a filter or r.o or lugging jugs.

That's all for now.
In New Jersey all gas stations are full service. No touching of any pumps there.

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by parrot » April 2, 2020, 2:33 am

More from the other side of the Pacific.
Despite living in the jungle and mostly as a recluse in Thailand, I followed with interest the virus news out of China. I remember when China locked down millions in Wuhan on 23 Jan.....thinking that only an authoritarian country like China could do something of the sort. That news was headline news around the world. By the 23rd of January, the first case was reported in Washington state.
By the time we arrived in Texas in mid-Feb, it was evident that the virus was a global threat. A few days after we arrived, I went to the DMV office to have my license updated for TSA identification. Upon returning home that day, I told my daughter, half jokingly, 'we're screwed'. The DMV office was jam packed, no sanitizer, no distancing, hacking and sneezing going on........When I compared images of the lockdown in Wuhan to what was going on in the US, I had a good sense that things were going to get worse. So, it's been with an extra dose of dismay that I watch many political leaders in the US deny, lie, and create the image of distractions that prevented them from taking earlier action. Today.......April 1st, the governor of Florida finally conceeded to calling for a lockdown of the state........that after allowing spring breakers to party hardy on its beaches up to the middle of March........."If I get corona, I get corona" seemed to be their mantra. I feel sorry for the people of NY, especially NYC, a state where the governor raised the red flag very eary in the game....despite a bevy of naysayers who called the whole thing a hoax or a mission fo the deep state. If and when Florida, now identified as hot spot for the virus, becomes overwhelmed with cases, I'm not sure I'll feel the same sympathy.....nor will many Americans who expressed dismay at the sight of the packed beaches a few weeks ago.

We came here in Feb expecting to leave in May. Although our return trip hasn't yet been cancelled, it's almost a sure thing. Then I thought June.......then July. Who knows.....this thing could blow over sooner than expected......but I'm hearing more and more respected senior medical officials talk about long after July. Biden is already talking about the real possibility that the Democratic Convention will not be held in July. Way back in June of 2018, Bill Mayer 'joked' about the president not leaving office even if he was defeated in 2020. He's oft repeated the comment, much more seriously in the time since. I'm getting the sense of that the squares on the rubik's cube have gone from the white cross, white corners, yellow cross, yellow corners, yellow edges......to merely permuting the corners and orienting the corners to complete the deed. The lockdown was unthinkable as was the pandemic (according to some). The answer to Bill Mayer's prediction may lie in merely finishing up the final steps to the cube.
If I was in Thailand, I'd check out the fortune teller who (pre virus conditions) had a small square of sidewalk in front of the Bangkok Bank on Phosri road for his take on what the future portends.

I take our daughter's 100lb german shepherd for a walk each morning to a nearby park where on occasion we'll spot deer and, once, a cayote. Today, a worker was roping off the picnic tables to prevent people from gathering there.

Meanwhile, while our truck is parked in a carport at home, our insurance is due to expire. I'm not sure if I should renew online or just take a chance and wait until we return (if/when). I didn't ask TOT to stop my fiber service (590baht/month) before I left.....but wonder if I should try a call to their 1100 center and see if that's possible now. Likewise, my AIS phone runs on a 200 baht per month package that keeps my phone number alive that I'm not using here.......maybe I should just let the number die and risk getting another set of lucky numbers the next time I need the service. Decisions decisions decisions.

Finally, I'm thankful we've operated on the precept of always having a plan B.......words of wisdom, especially for anyone living as an expat.

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by pf-flyer » April 2, 2020, 5:23 am

Thanks for the post and a dose of reality that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. It reminded me of the reasons why my wife and I decided to retire in Thailand. It is easy to get caught up in complaining about the things in the Thai culture that just do not fit into the thinking and mindset of us that did not grow up in this culture. We are the last house at the end of a small rural village and I could enumerate a lot of things that my wife and I would miss if we relocated back to the U.S. The longer I live in Thailand the more I realize how much I would miss this place if we had to move back to the U.S. Parrot advised me years before we moved to Thailand to have a plan B in place. We do have a plan B in place. There are no guarantees in life. Life is not always fair. My wife and I have already agreed that if we need to execute plan B we will. We do not have any immediate plans to do so. I have learnt that living in a foreign country changes you forever who you are. Here is where I am coming from. I do not have the same view and think and see things they way that I have done in the past. For me it is like steping outside of the box and looking at things from a different mindset set and perspective. I am still learning. We will get through the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay hunkered down and stay safe. It is going to be a long haul.
"Life is like a tube of toothpaste. Outward pressure brings out the inward contents."

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Re: Reporting from Across the Pacific

Post by noosard » April 2, 2020, 7:45 am

You should be able to put 20bht on your phone worth 30 days
do 5 times covered for 150 days
if you cant I can do for you pm me

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