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Middle Class Filipinos vs. Taiwanese Re: Foreigners

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Postby Rock » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:04 pm

Terrence wrote:
Rock wrote:3. You make China out to be a country as clean and developed as Japan or Korea (which still fall short by many measures of most western European and North American countries IMO). Perhaps its like that in Shanghai or even Beijing now. But personally, I reckon much of it is still quite backward in some ways at least. Just a few years ago, I found Beijing to be quite dirty and extremely dusty, especially in the hutongs. And the second and third tier cities were full of ugly apartment blocks with filthy stairways, no elevators, and no big picture planning (each unit was designed, fitted out, or expanded at the whim of the owners), just random disorder. I hated the food too. Most restaurants couldn't get western food right and Chinese places were generally highly inferior to counterparts in Taiwan. One of the most popular Sichuan dishes with westerners (kung pao chicken) was invariably over 80% bones in most of the restaurants I tried out in Chengdu and Chongqing. China has major air pollution in larger cities and poor quality consumables. As a developing country (which is what it still is and will continue to be for some time), quality of life often gets compromised.


I have traveled all up and down China, from the north of Harbin to the south of Guangdong. I've been in cities big and small. I've stayed in common people's homes. The only places I haven't been is way out west. I don't see the big difference. The idea that Japan and Korea fall short of western standards is outrageous to me. Now I know America is a big place. I would say my last ten years there were spent in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. I never encountered anything that could compete with places I stayed in Korea, with everything electronically controlled etc. (I won't even go into all the technology and cool gadgets, HD video screens everywhere etc. It's like a science fiction movie.) The biggest difference I see in China is no central air in some places and, yes, no elevator. (Luckily my building has one) I have yet to walk into a place as pitiful as my $1000 USD per month L.A. apartment. Maybe New York has stuff that blows the doors of Korea, Japan or China, but no place I have lived had it. They only recently got 20 Mbps/sec in L.A.


What I'm getting at more than anything else boils down to 2 things - space and aesthetics.

Population densities in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan are 10-20x higher than the US. China is nearly 5x as high. So in the States, you can easily find lots of space, fresh air, open roads. In newer cities and developments which can easily be found in Vegas and the far burbs of LA, houses and communities are modern, well planned and beautifully landscaped. They are also affordable to average Joes. Similar developments might be available in some select parts of the Asian countries mentioned. But you need to be a multi millionaire to buy one or have a huge income to afford the rent. And the expensive houses I've seen are still not as nice as many of the regular modern ones in the States. In NE Asia, you generally have to live with a much higher degree of noise pollution whether comparing major city to major city or town to town. Ditto for dirt. And a note about toilets - they are often filthy and stink to high heaven in China or at least the used to be the case. Has that changed so fast?

As for aesthetics, I just don't think the majority of structures in NE Asia have much appeal to the eye. There are impressive historic sights, decent skylines in Shanghai and HK, and a few interesting landmarks. But for the most part, residential and commercial buildings are designed pragmatically. I believe much of Europe blows NE Asia away in this regard. The US is generally better as well IMO but of course there are certain limited areas of the States which are glaring exceptions.

You talked about implementation of technology in buildings and its true that in some ways, the US is behind Japan and/or S. Korea. You've got lots of innovations which focus on automation, conserving precious space, and providing ultra modern convenience, and comfort, especially in Japan. Consider their smart toilets for example. Also, when you stroll down the street in Tokyo, talking vending machines and gadgets assault your senses. But if you stay in a modern luxury condo in the States or the right 5 star hotel chain, I don't think you would be too be disappointed by lack of technological innovations and conveniences. In some ways, they would beat their NE Asian equivalents too in terms of overall living quality and service standards.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:15 am

Rock wrote:What I'm getting at more than anything else boils down to 2 things - space and aesthetics.

Population densities in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan are 10-20x higher than the US. China is nearly 5x as high. So in the States, you can easily find lots of space, fresh air, open roads. In newer cities and developments which can easily be found in Vegas and the far burbs of LA, houses and communities are modern, well planned and beautifully landscaped. They are also affordable to average Joes.


Ahhh, in that case, you're right! But then I see it as a matter of preference. In L.A., everything is so spaced out, and having a car and needing to drive myself, I didn't find that a plus. Even to go to the closest market I had to drive. I actually prefer to live in a high rise and be able to walk anywhere. In Asia, there is not just one, but many markets, big and small, fruit stands, little restaurants and street food every few steps. No need for a car. Even if some place is further, a quick taxi ride of maybe $2 - $3 will get me there, and that's in Shanghai. In smaller cities, like in Henan, it would be $1. I am just not into subdivisions and stand alone houses.

Rock wrote:Similar developments might be available in some select parts of the Asian countries mentioned. But you need to be a multi millionaire to buy one or have a huge income to afford the rent. And the expensive houses I've seen are still not as nice as many of the regular modern ones in the States. In NE Asia, you generally have to live with a much higher degree of noise pollution whether comparing major city to major city or town to town. Ditto for dirt. And a note about toilets - they are often filthy and stink to high heaven in China or at least the used to be the case. Has that changed so fast?


I haven't really visited too many toilets in China. In my building and in my office, they are great. I remember on the old green train it was horrible though. I was not one to be comfortable in public bathrooms even in the states. In Korea, though, I thought they had the cleanest, most comfortable public facilities I have ever seen. From what I have seen in China, I believe they decided to take advantage of that great resource, manpower, to solve this. Everywhere, you see cleaning people in blue uniforms, at all hours of the day, keeping things nice. ON the streets, in my office, in the malls, they seem to be there to allow people to litter as much as they like, and someone takes care of it.

Rock wrote:As for aesthetics, I just don't think the majority of structures in NE Asia have much appeal to the eye. There are impressive historic sights, decent skylines in Shanghai and HK, and a few interesting landmarks. But for the most part, residential and commercial buildings are designed pragmatically. I believe much of Europe blows NE Asia away in this regard. The US is generally better as well IMO but of course there are certain limited areas of the States which are glaring exceptions.


Well, I know NEw York and Chicago might look cool, but L.A. has the most boring, bland architecture I have seen in the world. Every building pretty much looks the same. I can't begin to compare it with Pusan, where on the beach it has a mix of future Asia and an almost Mediterranean look. I think Shanghai is the coolest futuristic city I have been in. Beijing never impressed me, then or now. Dalian, on the coast, was visually amazing. Korea also has many areas of carbon copy buildings. It is a few special districts which have the cool stuff.

Rock wrote:You talked about implementation of technology in buildings and its true that in some ways, the US is behind Japan and/or S. Korea. You've got lots of innovations which focus on automation, conserving precious space, and providing ultra modern convenience, and comfort, especially in Japan. Consider their smart toilets for example. Also, when you stroll down the street in Tokyo, talking vending machines and gadgets assault your senses. But if you stay in a modern luxury condo in the States or the right 5 star hotel chain, I don't think you would be too be disappointed by lack of technological innovations and conveniences. In some ways, they would beat their NE Asian equivalents too in terms of overall living quality and service standards.


The best 5 star hotel I ever stayed in was the Shangri-la in Shanghai, and I say this having stayed in some great spots in Vegas. I still love the Luxor and Mandalay Bay. There is even a Waldorf coming here soon. What struck me, though, is that Korea seemed to have this stuff in every normal apartment building. Everything just felt really old in L.A. by comparison. I am sure there were some great new buildings out there that may even beat the best Asia can offer, but they are so far from the studios that the commute would be hell. I couldn't realistically consider them, even if they were half the price of this hole I lived in.

China has changed a lot in just the last 5-10 years. My girlfriend was in University only 5 years ago. She mentioned, as we walked around her city, that none of what we were seeing was there at that time.
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Postby OutWest » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:15 am

Rock wrote:
Winston wrote:Steve Hoca concurs with our views on middle class Filipinos. Here is what he said:

Hello Winston:

I must agree with you on this one totally. When I was in the Philippines, I too noticed that people who are somewhat middle class hang only around other Philippinos and not foreigners. It's a cliquish thing that struck me. Ladislav never talked about this at all. He made it seem as if any woman there was dying to meet a nice, handsome, foreign guy which simply wasn't the case. Ladislav had me stay at this pension house that was a total flop, and at no time did any of the girls at the desk act friendly or say hello. I was so turned off by this Winston.

When I went out alone to the restaurants (mainly the fast food ones that most Philippinos cannot afford), I too noticed this cliquish attitude with these people. None would engage me in conversation, and that really hurt. The only way you can meet these women Winston is to take a laptop computer with you, and make sure you email as many females as you can in the area that are on the Filipina Cupid singles sites. Then, there are prospects right there. But, I never felt as if women there just wanted to swallow me up and take me in their arms.

Things have changed a bit I am sure, but the general rule is this: seek out women who are economically disadvantaged and not basking in materialism. If you do, you will have luck. Otherwise, you will be stuck all by yourself, lonely in your apartment or hotel room. Had it not been for one nice Filipina I met in Cagayan de Oro, I am sure my trip would have been much lonelier.

Talk to you soon.

Steve


Hello Winston:

Once again, you make a very astute point about the Philippines. It's as if as long as they have money, they want nothing to do with you as a foreigner. But, if they are destitute and poor, then you are the magic knight on a white horse coming to their rescue, particularly the women.

I am sad that this was my experience, but it was. You really have to be strategic when you're out and about trying to meet women in the Philippines. You have to go to poor areas, not upwardly more progressive ones. When I was in Cebu, I stayed a few days at this place in downtown Cebu City. The place was very busy, and there was a mall just across the street. You are right, as long as these people are making money and spending it freely, it's as if they don't need to socialize with foreigners, even Americans for that matter.

When I met the one women in Cebu, I had to have a cab driver take me over forty miles outside the city to a poor part in order to meet a woman that actually wanted to be with me.

Once again Winston, you are a genius, and you once again make more valid points. Keep up the good work.

Steve


Hello Winston:

I have to comment further about the whole leech mentality of Filipinos. In only two weeks, I learned so much about them, almost to the point where I am thinking that you are right in that they are shameless leeches lacking very little pride. When you meet a woman, she never just goes out alone with you. She brings her whole entourage. And she has no shame about it either. And you are right in that if you promise a Filipinos a gift, they not only will accept your offer (unlike us, "you don't have to do that"), but they will also hold you to your promise as if "you own it to me".

I think the Philippines is nice in that the weather there is beautiful, and if you manage your money right, you can get a 3 to 1 advantage over it. However, computers there are extremely expensive, as is fast food and beer. Comparatively, a can of beer there costs 30 pesos in the supermarket, which amounts to 75 American cents. That's about what you pay per beer when you buy a 12 pack of beer in the states. In fact, even less than that. Most electronics there are expensive. A laptop computer that costs $600.00 here in the U.S. will easily cost $900.00 there, and to Filipinos, that's like buying a very expensive used car.

Also, where the hell do these Filipinos that can afford Jollibee come from Winston? I thought that in the Philippines, most workers only make 200 pesos per day, or seven American dollars. How the hell can they afford to pay 150 pesos for a simple fast food meal? Also, fast food is comparatively the same price as it is here in the United States. For three American dollars, you can still get a value meal at some McDonald's restaurants. And there the price is the same. Go figure.

I will sum it up like this Winston: the Philippines is an anomaly to say the least. Larry Elterman made it seem as if things were cheaper there, and he is right. But, there are so many factors there I just don't understand. Will I go back there? Probably, but it's hard to say when.

Steve


Well this also supports what I suspected. Some people on this forum have made it sound like walking through central Cebu as a foreigner is like being some kind of rock star. If it sounds too good to be true...

As for prices, keep in mind that the US$ has lost a lot of ground against the Peso and most other currencies over the last few years. Moreover, PI has had a significant amount of local price inflation over the last few years. Combining these two factors means PI is a lot more expensive to an American visitor now than when Larry wrote his book. And electronics and certain other items have always been cheapest in the first world. Just don't buy such items in less developed areas of the world, bring them from home.


These kinds of exchanges are always amusing. If I recall, this fellow is morbidly obese (or do I have the
wrong guy?) ...just can't figure
out why the girls are not flocking around..even in the Philippines. Going to the Philippines, or anywhere else,
is never a substitute for dealing with one's own SERIOUS PERSONAL ISSUES, whatever they are.

I have in my own circle likely a dozen drop dead pretty girls, beautiful, the kind you take home
to mother types...My advice to all of them is to be VERY CAUTIOUS with foreigners, including Kanos.
"Until you know better, assume they are jerks", has been very sound advice.

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Postby Rock » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:25 am

OutWest wrote:These kinds of exchanges are always amusing. If I recall, this fellow is morbidly obese (or do I have the
wrong guy?) ...just can't figure
out why the girls are not flocking around..even in the Philippines. Going to the Philippines, or anywhere else,
is never a substitute for dealing with one's own SERIOUS PERSONAL ISSUES, whatever they are.

I have in my own circle likely a dozen drop dead pretty girls, beautiful, the kind you take home
to mother types...My advice to all of them is to be VERY CAUTIOUS with foreigners, including Kanos.
"Until you know better, assume they are jerks", has been very sound advice.

Outwest
Misamis Oriental, Mindanao


You got the wrong guy. Steve runs marathons, is decent looking, and around 40. He's also not too interested in P4P nor does he mind dating girls around his own age. I think he's just looking for the right girl so he hardly falls into the jerk category, at least from what he's revealed about himself up to now.
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Postby Repatriate » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:57 am

Also, what another person terms as "beautiful women in my social circle" may not apply to reality or the general view of the society they are living in. A lot of guys in Thailand claim to have sexy women throwing themselves at them daily but usually the women are quite average if not usually far below average for Thailand..ie unattractive face, body, low mental/social/educational level.

I think perception is the biggest thing here. Some guys rarely if ever have women pay them any attention in the western world so any positive attention seems like a feast. I totally believe what Steve Hoca is saying because he's looking at it from a reasonably critical eye according to stated personal standards. Simply having a large quantity of below average women throwing themselves at you doesn't make it "paradise" but brings up a lot of other issues that has been noted in this thread already.
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Postby OutWest » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:58 am

Rock wrote:
OutWest wrote:These kinds of exchanges are always amusing. If I recall, this fellow is morbidly obese (or do I have the
wrong guy?) ...just can't figure
out why the girls are not flocking around..even in the Philippines. Going to the Philippines, or anywhere else,
is never a substitute for dealing with one's own SERIOUS PERSONAL ISSUES, whatever they are.

I have in my own circle likely a dozen drop dead pretty girls, beautiful, the kind you take home
to mother types...My advice to all of them is to be VERY CAUTIOUS with foreigners, including Kanos.
"Until you know better, assume they are jerks", has been very sound advice.

Outwest
Misamis Oriental, Mindanao


You got the wrong guy. Steve runs marathons, is decent looking, and around 40. He's also not too interested in P4P nor does he mind dating girls around his own age. I think he's just looking for the right girl so he hardly falls into the jerk category, at least from what he's revealed about himself up to now.



Hmmmm...I stand corrected ..hat tip to Steve...I do think then that with a little more experience in the Philippines he could set himself apart from the pack and do well. I did not note how long he spent, but
one has to put in the time at any rate. Not sure what he did..but a few days in a shopping mall would
work for many...a local expat coaching or connecting him might have helped...

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Postby Repatriate » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:08 am

Terrence wrote:
Ahhh, in that case, you're right! But then I see it as a matter of preference. In L.A., everything is so spaced out, and having a car and needing to drive myself, I didn't find that a plus. Even to go to the closest market I had to drive. I actually prefer to live in a high rise and be able to walk anywhere. In Asia, there is not just one, but many markets, big and small, fruit stands, little restaurants and street food every few steps. No need for a car. Even if some place is further, a quick taxi ride of maybe $2 - $3 will get me there, and that's in Shanghai. In smaller cities, like in Henan, it would be $1. I am just not into subdivisions and stand alone houses.

I kind of agree with what Terrence is saying here. Asian cities are usually much more interesting to explore and travel around in. There's really nothing like Japan's high speed line anywhere in the U.S. Nor is any city as interesting as Tokyo or even Seoul. This is all subjective of course but I find NY to be expensive, overrated, and the locals generally reprehensible to be around for any length of time. That ruins it for me, and all the "broadway" musicals, history, and overpriced international (but good) restaurants can't make up for that.

You'll also find much more practical use of technology in a lot of Asian cities these days. It's not surprising since flexible local infrastructure laws means they can easily replace old with newer designs whereas the same upgrade process would cost an enormous amount and get mired in red tape in let's say Los Angeles. Just a small example, but the movie theaters in Bangkok are absolutely superior in every way to any i've seen in CA. This includes the "premium" theaters like the Arclight in Hollywood.
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Postby OutWest » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:11 am

Repatriate wrote:Also, what another person terms as "beautiful women in my social circle" may not apply to reality or the general view of the society they are living in. A lot of guys in Thailand claim to have sexy women throwing themselves at them daily but usually the women are quite average if not usually far below average for Thailand..ie unattractive face, body, low mental/social/educational level.

I think perception is the biggest thing here. Some guys rarely if ever have women pay them any attention in the western world so any positive attention seems like a feast. I totally believe what Steve Hoca is saying because he's looking at it from a reasonably critical eye according to stated personal standards. Simply having a large quantity of below average women throwing themselves at you doesn't make it "paradise" but brings up a lot of other issues that has been noted in this thread already.


Perception? Maybe, but I have pretty high standards, I'm hardly some slob myself...lived and worked
in Latin America and Asia for years, as I do now. But yes, if you have decent standards, a lot get
crossed off the list. Anywhere, it takes time to meet a quality person, even in the Philippines. Perhaps Steve
will give it a go when he can put in some more time in the effort. Looking back...hmmmm...actually it
did not seem all that easy. Only with time and local experience did it begin to look simple.


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Postby The_Adventurer » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:46 am

Repatriate wrote:You'll also find much more practical use of technology in a lot of Asian cities these days. It's not surprising since flexible local infrastructure laws means they can easily replace old with newer designs whereas the same upgrade process would cost an enormous amount and get mired in red tape in let's say Los Angeles. Just a small example, but the movie theaters in Bangkok are absolutely superior in every way to any i've seen in CA. This includes the "premium" theaters like the Arclight in Hollywood.


Ugh... I totally forgot about that. And the crowds in Asia often know how to to sit down and watch a movie without treating the cinema like it's their living room. IT was so bad in L.A., the Arclight was the only theatre I would dare set foot in. The cost and alcohol service (no one under 21 allowed) kept the riffraff out. Theaters in Asia are awesome. Big screens, and great sound.

Infrastructure stuff is a huge setback. Replacing all that old copper wire is making it impossible to get anything decent in the realm of internet and digital TV, while in Korea you can stream full quality live broadcasts on a cell phone. They were just getting 6Mbps internet when I left, and my friends report just getting 20Mbps. Korea had 100Mbps when I was there. I watch HD trailers on Apple in realtime.
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Postby Repatriate » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:18 am

If you really look at the infrastructure in the U.S., the suburban living standards and roads are nice but wasteful and ultimately unsustainable in the long run with fuel prices going the way they are going. Those tens of thousands of miles of roads, bridges, etc.. were due in part to the power of early pork barrel politics and a lot of those former darlings of infrastructure are falling into disrepair because of the current economic reality of the U.S.

I also believe the isolated suburban existences supports America's anti-social tendencies towards community. Unless you live in a small town living in the suburbs is kind of like living in your own town. You come back to your walled off McMansion and you can drive off to morning every day without ever acknowledging a single soul outside of that enclosed environment.


Infrastructure stuff is a huge setback. Replacing all that old copper wire is making it impossible to get anything decent in the realm of internet and digital TV, while in Korea you can stream full quality live broadcasts on a cell phone. They were just getting 6Mbps internet when I left, and my friends report just getting 20Mbps. Korea had 100Mbps when I was there. I watch HD trailers on Apple in realtime.


Internet providers in the U.S. are actually going to regress in the future because laws are becoming more strict and corporate interests are starting to supersede individual users. Some people criticize asia when it comes to copyright laws etc.. but I like not having the feeling of big brother monitoring my downloads for stuff like movies or worrying about receiving a six figure court judgement against me because of a few mp3s.
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Postby Rock » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:59 am

Repatriate wrote:
Terrence wrote:
Ahhh, in that case, you're right! But then I see it as a matter of preference. In L.A., everything is so spaced out, and having a car and needing to drive myself, I didn't find that a plus. Even to go to the closest market I had to drive. I actually prefer to live in a high rise and be able to walk anywhere. In Asia, there is not just one, but many markets, big and small, fruit stands, little restaurants and street food every few steps. No need for a car. Even if some place is further, a quick taxi ride of maybe $2 - $3 will get me there, and that's in Shanghai. In smaller cities, like in Henan, it would be $1. I am just not into subdivisions and stand alone houses.

I kind of agree with what Terrence is saying here. Asian cities are usually much more interesting to explore and travel around in. There's really nothing like Japan's high speed line anywhere in the U.S. Nor is any city as interesting as Tokyo or even Seoul. This is all subjective of course but I find NY to be expensive, overrated, and the locals generally reprehensible to be around for any length of time. That ruins it for me, and all the "broadway" musicals, history, and overpriced international (but good) restaurants can't make up for that.

You'll also find much more practical use of technology in a lot of Asian cities these days. It's not surprising since flexible local infrastructure laws means they can easily replace old with newer designs whereas the same upgrade process would cost an enormous amount and get mired in red tape in let's say Los Angeles. Just a small example, but the movie theaters in Bangkok are absolutely superior in every way to any i've seen in CA. This includes the "premium" theaters like the Arclight in Hollywood.


When it comes to leading cities, especially world cities, they are kinda like closed universes - they have a strong hint of their host country's culture but they stand-out as very different. A few which are generally considered top-tier - Manhattan, Seoul, Tokyo, London, Paris, Zurich, HK, and now perhaps Shanghai and Moscow - all have their strong and weak points. I was just in Seoul late last year and was pretty disappointed overall. Just an example - the subway system seemed old, ugly and less user friendly than the more modern ones of Taipei, Bangkok or even HK. Yet as an older system, it has none of the charm you see with Moscow's of even the system in Paris. Of course, NYC's is much worse. Likewise, Tokyo's public transport system is baffling because there are so many companies offering service and the transitions between each are far from seamless (you have to by separate cards, tokens, etc. look at different maps, and sometimes walk long distances for transfers). My point is that if you wanted to compare these cities to each other somewhat comprehensively, you would need to create a matrix with all the factors you deem relevant and then rate each each city for each one. The results would probably be a mixed bag with no city coming even close to perfect.

Now once you leave the major cities, things can be quite different. What I like about the States is that I can go to a place like Fort Myers or Fort Lauderdale, spend $800 per month in rent or better yet, plunk down US$100-150K, and get freehold title to a new 2 bed/2 bath condo in a well maintained development with clubhouse, gym, large pool + heated juccuzzi, running tracks, lake views, nature trails and close access (2-3 miles) to white sand beaches, fishing, boating, scuba diving, water or jet skiing, surfing, island hopping, dolphin watching, casino boats, etc. Early bird specials make for cheap drinking and dining options. There are plenty of 24/7 food options with the Wal Mart Super Centers, health food chains, and restaurants all over the place. There's some great cultural and nightlife options in Miami Beach. Some of the malls (including outdoor ones) in the Ft. Myers/Naples area are wonderful. I love the bookstores too. Edison and Ford's winter estates is a great place to spend the day. Sarasota just an hour + north has some of the friendliest and most hospitable Americans I've seen anywhere. If you raise pets, they even have some dedicated dog beaches just north of the main beach of Estero Island (Ft. Myers Beach). Unspoiled Sanibel and Captiva Islands are a bridge ride way. Key West is a 3 hour ferry ride. And Florida is full of great theme parks which can be reached within 3 hours of driving from those cities. The developments in the better areas are extremely well maintained, clean, and modern. The air is fresh. You have plenty of space to drive and park your car. Cable gives you hundreds of channels. Very fast Internet is available. And with Netflix, you have access to a nearly comprehensive selection of US movies (home delivered DVDs or downloaded directly via Internet) from the past 6 decades as well as a lot of foreign choices, all for under $20 per month. And from nearby Miami, you have a gateway airport Latin America - plenty of direct non-stop flights to most of the major cities. Jump on a plane and in 3 hours plus change, you're already on Cartegena's Boca Grande beach, sipping on a margarita and mulling over your nightlife options. I would say that a single person could afford this lifestyle for US$2-3K per month including maintenance of a decent auto, health insurance, and an exotic 2 week trip ever 3 months. A couple could manage on a similar amount with fewer trips overseas trips.

I've spent considerable time in exotic Asian capitals and clearly love them for what they offer - bright lights, a busy buzz, and 24/7 excitement, mysterious ancient languages and culture, exotic food and markets, beautiful women, low crime, and a sense that things are rapidly evolving and developing around me as time passes. Access to girlfriends and low cost P4P is another big appealing factor.

But once you fully adjust to life in this region, you may sometimes long for the space, cleanliness, and quiet of a country like the US or Australia.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:58 am

Rock wrote:But once you fully adjust to life in this region, you may sometimes long for the space, cleanliness, and quiet of a country like the US or Australia.


I think that's the big difference. I lived 30+ years of that life of space, cleanliness and quiet. It all got old. I can't see myself ever wanting to go back to that. I think, now, I want the future city, the action, the cool video screens that take up an entire side of a building and all that. And of course Safety.

You know, I lived for 6,or so, years in Florida. Take one wrong turn and you get shot like those two Brits did a few days ago.
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Postby Rock » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:48 am

Terrence wrote:
Rock wrote:But once you fully adjust to life in this region, you may sometimes long for the space, cleanliness, and quiet of a country like the US or Australia.


I think that's the big difference. I lived 30+ years of that life of space, cleanliness and quiet. It all got old. I can't see myself ever wanting to go back to that. I think, now, I want the future city, the action, the cool video screens that take up an entire side of a building and all that. And of course Safety.

You know, I lived for 6,or so, years in Florida. Take one wrong turn and you get shot like those two Brits did a few days ago.


Yea, that happened in Sarasota, a low crime city, especially Longboat Key. Shit happens. My hometown in Illinois never had a murder in over 100 years. But during my last visit, some clown shot another dead at a local bar. Anyway, some of Florida is a mess crime wise - well over half of mainland Miami is like the (dangerous) 3rd world. Tampa has a lot of dodgy areas too.

I think Florida is great if you stick to most areas more than halfway in from the Interstate towards the gulf or ocean. On the Gulf side, that means anything west of Rt. 24. That's where the money tends to be concentrated. In Fort Myers area, even the east side has a lot of great developments, dome gated, some not. Going south through Bonita Springs and on to Naples, its just gets even better. There is very little crime in these parts of SW Florida (southern Ft. Myers/Bonita Springs/Naples). And the area is full of beautiful new developments and great beaches. On the other coast, southern Florida is a lot more crowded and Spanish is the most common language in much of Miami-Dade County. While Miami proper is extremely dangerous, the north part of the county (Aventura and Golden Isle Beach) has one of the country's lowest crime crime rates. Moving up north through Hollywood, Pompano Beach, and eventually to Palm Beach (one of the richest ares in the US) you will also see many wonderful developments as long as you stay east of Rt. 1.

I love Florida and don't find it difficult to avoid dangerous areas. The general layout of most southern coastal cities seems very straightforward to me. What part(s) of Florida did you stay in?

BTW, I find that once you stay anywhere too long, it gets old. I got tired of living in small town America, then urban America, then Europe. Even now, I often get fed-up with noise, dirt, crowds, and pollution in certain parts of Asia. In Latin America, my nerves were a wreck from being paranoid on the streets at night. The best solution I can find to this tendency is to follow Lad's lead and live as a perpetual traveler. Then everyplace you visit remains relatively fresh and as soon as the bad side starts irritating you too much, you can grab your bag and move on.
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Postby Rock » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:58 am

Repatriate wrote:
Rock wrote:Good points. Based on this and your past posts, you seem to know a fair bit about PI even though you don't live there. I suppose its hard to clearly define middle class. I even asked my mini-van driver today, just for fun, what defines middle class in PI (40,000 pesos a month I even suggested) and he came up completely blank even though he had decent English conversation skills.

The concept of middle class is completely foreign to most of the population in low income developing world countries. The Phillipines has huge income inequality and for people on the bottom tier anything above subsistence/service level livelihoods is considered "rich" to them. Thailand's Bangkok middle class enjoys a lifestyle that is far above and beyond your average Thai service/laborer who earns anywhere from 5,000 - 10,000 baht a day. A lot of the Thai middle class started out probably in the higher end of the income bracket because of family businesses/social connections and such. I find that they usually make salaries that are comparable with your average 9 to 5 low end western job ie.. 30,000 - 60,000 for engineers and the like and then it goes up to 80,000-100,000 a month for corporate seniority. So on the top end of the wage chain Thai management and senior staff working in technical fields can make a very good salary. I'm talking about strictly technical fields though.

The real Bangkok wealthy is pretty much just as wealthy as your "average" multi millionaire in the U.S. They own multiple condos in Bangkok, drive ferraris/lambos, have vacation homes in the U.S./Australia.

I don't consider Thai office staff working in administrative or banking counter positions making 10,000-15,000 baht a month as "middle class" even if they are dressed very nicely and graduated from a top 5 school. There's a lot of these people and they barely make ends meet.


On the point of access to casual sex with regular girls, Thailand seems to be pretty open these days. If you date a regular girl from a larger city and she likes you, you probably have a decent chance at getting sex before too long. On the other hand, if you want to find a virgin and marry her, PI is probably a much better hunting ground. There seems to be a lot of virgins here up to late 20s or so. You PI experts can correct me on this if I've been misled.

I wouldn't generalize about this too much. I believe a lot of the Thai women foreigners interact with in Thailand tends to skew perceptions. Like I said there's a subset of regular seeming Thai girls who are into "partying" a lot. They can be urbane and trendy types but they still aren't the norm. Matter of fact if they can speak english on any kind of competent level they are definitely NOT the norm by default. I have met a lot of really conservative thai women, I actually believe most Thai women I meet are fairly modest.


One of the reasons I got this impression was that there seemed to be a buzz during the last few years, a lot of people commenting in local (English) papers, etc. about how morals amount the young generation had changed so much, how students were having lots of premarital sex, wearing revealing cloths, clubbing, and experimenting with other types of decadence. I've noticed similar trends in some other Asian countries including China. Perhaps there is a tendency for older generations to assume the young are out of control and breaking all the old rules. But I also got a similar impression from the detailed commentary posted by 'Old Thai Hand' on another forum 3-5 years ago. He was a foreign professor at Chula, a Thai speaker, and an excellent writer who loved to comment on social dynamics of his students.
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Postby Rock » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:14 pm

Repatriate wrote:
Terrence wrote:
You'll also find much more practical use of technology in a lot of Asian cities these days. It's not surprising since flexible local infrastructure laws means they can easily replace old with newer designs whereas the same upgrade process would cost an enormous amount and get mired in red tape in let's say Los Angeles. Just a small example, but the movie theaters in Bangkok are absolutely superior in every way to any i've seen in CA. This includes the "premium" theaters like the Arclight in Hollywood.


Speaking of movies and theaters, I really do like the premium theaters in places like Siam Paragon and Emporium. BUT, the movie selection in Thailand totally sucks IMO. So much of the stuff on the roster is geared to Hollywood or Asian action flicks or local horror movies. And almost everything is for the young-set. I was pleasantly surprised to see they had "The Social Network" showing for awhile and saw it there for a second time. What I really like are theaters which show independent films, often non-English ones from around the world. NYC does have a fair number of such theaters and even Taipei had one until recently. As far as English language movies go, typical theaters in larger US cities have a much broader selection than Thailand. For example, the 4 or 5 theaters in the immediate vicinity of 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica probably screen at least 10-20 different movies at any one time with a healthy mix of genres.
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