what it is like to live on US$600 a month in chiangmai

17 Aug

london 8am 14C sunny friday 2018

i had a enjoyable time looking at a video by this guy living in chiangmai, asking the question what it is like living there on US$600 (£471) a month. it is fun to see how other people live, and wondering if i were there , living an expat life in chiangmai , what would it be like on that budget. he wrote it in his blog with all the figures, making it easier to read it. 

almost two-thirds ($421)of the budget is for accommodation… it is the rental on a flat there. so perhaps that makes this video not suitable for a single expat. because it might be possible to get accommodation for much less if u rent it for a year… or live away from centre of chiangmai.

he reduced it to $213 a month by calculating it as a split rent with his girlfriend. and making it a more reasonable one third of the budget. allowing him to play with a $20 a day budget instead of $10 a day…

my take from all this is that accommodation is the biggest expense in any place u stay… that is why if u are retired, or making a plan for retirement, u must make sure that your accommodation is free… that is you have bought the place and is mortgage free. i would say that is the single most important thing to do on your retirement plan. and by good luck , i have done it with my place. didn’t plan it but it has turned out that way. and i realised it is the single most important factor to why i find living in london as i do, so cheap and affordable, even on the low pension i get.

 i noticed also that he likes western food, which of course is not surprising seeing he is a westerner, but it does affect the affordability… as western food in thailand is expensive. and i dont just mean steak, but burgers, pizza, pasta (what we here in uk would consider junk food) would be western food in thailand and cost more than the local pad thai, and street food.

he would love living in london, as those foods are relatively cheap by comparison… here pad thai will cost a lot… 

there are comments there which says why dont he cook a lot more at home… of course he would save a lot more… but then, i can imagine living in s.e.asia, what is the point of cooking it yourself? the whole idea of going there to live is that not only is it cheap, but you can live a lifestyle of eating out on that budget… i mean to say u can get all that service, getting others to cook for you, do your laundry, etc,being driven everywhere by uber,  that is the lifestyle of the rich, on a low budget.

added 3.32pm i went to the lush premises, which is giving away the free vegan coffee…if u bring your own cup, or if u dont, u can buy a cup from them for £4. i brought my own, one that i brought ages ago from a charity shop for £1. it is an insulated cup which keeps the drink hot. anyway they use almond milk. it is quite nice, very creamy. i had a latte. and it looks like u can go back and have another cup if u want… i did not do it of course, but wandered around the area, esp going into the shops in carnaby st and nearby. lots of shoe shops, selling trainers. the reebok classic is now selling for £75. the one i am wearing has a metal logo. they dont do that anymore i think. the logo is now sown on.

my camera has kaput. pity that because there was a shop that sells women shoes, and has heels that depict cartoon characters and i would have liked to have taken pics of those. they are called irregular choice.


providing urinals

16 Aug

london 10.05am 18C rain thursday 2018

it is predicted to rain today and sure enough it is raining now, although very light at the moment.

the rain reminded me that it will wash the urine away if any men were to piss outside. the thought was prompted by me reading this article about paris setting up plant containers as urinals, it contains straw which can then be composted with its urine content to use as fertiliser. i thought it is a good idea. but they painted the containers in bright red, as well as other more subdued colours, but the bright red attracted too much attention. they should not paint it in red and also put them in side alleys and out of the way places… though if people cannot find them, it might defeat the purpose. 

it seems parisien males think nothing of pissing in public. in the past i used to admire paris for providing pissoirs but i think they removed them and now the men have nowhere to go.

what do london men do? i think  men piss in alleyways, and doorways too… though maybe the latter is not so common now. but it is not very noticeable, because most try to do it in an out of the way spot. and there are lots of plant containers around to piss into and all at waist height too. not to mention we have lots of parks and garden squares, where it is easy to piss through the fences.

the rain will wash it all away. another reason for liking london, where it rains often. though this summer is proving to be a memorable exception. 

added. 10.54am raining very heavily now, so that is lovely. cleans everything .

15 Aug

london 12.13pm 21C cloudy wednesday 2018

i am waiting now for the talktalk manager to call me to ask how the problem with my landline went. actually it is all solved and no problemo. my broadband is back and the phone is working as normal now… and i hope to tell him to stop the call divert on my landline, if they had not allready found it out and stopped it allready. 

if i dont hear from him, i shall call the helpline myself to ask them to close it. then the phone saga will end and life goes back to normal.

and i hope simon will finish his cleaning mania and stop cleaning the kitchen. and i can get into it to cook my lunch. i suppose it is nice to have a grease free kitchen. but it will all get greasy again.

life here in london is very quiet until yesterday when i saw live on tv, in the good morning broadcast on itv, where they caught the assault on parliament live on tv. it is quite a coup by itv, to have a reporter and tv cameras so nearby, to be able to catch it all live as it happens. fortunately no one got killed, and the assault does not seem to be planned very well, with the car stopped by the barrier, and luckily no bombs involved.

life goes on as usual with us meeting up at the pub for our usual old ex members of a east west club get together. and because august is a dead time, with no news, the car incident took up a lot of news space. thank goodness in a way it is such a minor episode. unlike that bridge in genoa collapsing and killing so many. how is it possible to have such a thing happen in this day and age… bridge building must be so old technology, we should be able to build a bridge without it falling down nowadays. that bridge is only 50yrs old. its 12.30pm now and still no ringing from the talktalk people. looks like they have forgotten… or maybe they assume everything is fine and so no need to call me for feedback.

i am hesitant whether to call the helpline and tell them of the call divert. if i do and they call, that call will be diverted to my mobile and register as engaged. ah well, it is a small problem. 

added 12.49pm. i got a call just now and i thought it was the talktalk people, but it was from brilliant energy… my electricity supplier, and they were calling me to give them my meter reading. i have been trying to avoid doing it, because i have been using a lot more than they have guessed, and i had hoped that if i delayed it for another quarter, my usage would have dropped to compensate for the excess usage i have been doing for the spring and summer quarter. ah well, once they got me with this call, i cannot avoid giving it to them and so i gave to them. but fortunately, i have reduced my usage a lot and so the figures now conform to their estimate. for the previous two readings i have gone over by about 30kwh , but now i have gone under by 30kwh. and i think the next quarter, the autumn , i shall use less too and that would square me with the total for the year. it is about 1200kwh a year. 

that means that they will continue with the direct debit of £15.59 that i have been paying monthly instead of increasing it. i have a feeling i shall be using even less electricity this autumn. 

added 1.57pm. well finally the talktalk manager called me. and i asked him to remove the call divert which he did there and then. so that saga is now completely resolved to our satisfaction.

also, i see that this company is giving away free coffee… they call it vegan coffee, but really all coffee is vegan. when i first heard that term i thought they did something special to it to make it vegan… until i realise hang on, coffee beans are vegan… there is no meat in it. but if u put cow’s milk in it… can u call it vegan? or is vegan means it includes dairy products… 


Differences Between Vegan and Vegetarian. … Some vegetarians also exclude dairy, some don’t, and some may consume eggs. Likewise, vegans avoid meat, poultry, and seafood, but they also take it a step further by eliminating all animal products from their diet. This includes any type of animal milk and eggs. quote from wikipedia.

so when they say vegan coffee, they must mean they use soya milk or almond milk, not cow’s milk. i wonder if it will affect the taste of that coffee.


looks like my internet is back

14 Aug

london 9.38am 18C cloudy tuesday 2018

the BT engineer for the phone came quite early today and at first seemed to have fixed my phone, the dialing tone came on, but after he left, we found my internet connection went down again, after coming back on for a short time when he fixed it. but as soon as he left the flat, it went off. i called the talk talk helpline to ask them to call the engineer back, and they were quick to get him, and i was told he is now fixing the outside connection. it seemed the problem was outside the flat…in their connection box .

anyway now the internet is back and my chromebook is working again…but i cannot get any incoming calls on my landline. i can make calls from it , or at least when i test it by calling my mobile from it, i can get the ringing from my mobile. but whether i can hear anything if i were to answer it, i dont know, as i have not answered it. fortunately i dont care much for that, so i shall let them try to fix it and let them take however long .

got my internet back and that is all that matters. lets hope it does not break down again. 

added. i just realised why i am not getting incalls on the landline. it is because when it went down, they diverted all incoming calls on it to my mobile. so no wonder when they tested it and called me on the landline to test it, they said there was an engaged tone. no wonder, because i was using my mobile then. well i hope they remember that and take down the divert calls. and things should get back to normal. 

i have to throw away my reebok shoes

13 Aug

london 12.43pm 21C cloudy monday 2018 tate britain cafe

my reebok shoes which i have for such a long time have finally needed to be thrown away. the sole is still good, but the the hard plastic that shaped the heel area finally got exposed and was digging into the back of my foot so much so that it broke the skin there and cause bleeding. i am using the other pair that i found at the same time and hopefully it will last another 5 yrs … i got used to wearing reeboks so that i am glad i dont have to think about buying a new pair just yet. it is good to keep these old trainers in use for so long.

right now i got a tray of chicken pieces baking in the oven, at home.

i have switched the oven off now, but let the pieces continue to cook inside it whilst i go out to this cafe to get online. 

virgin lounge 3.05pm

its lovely to just be able to take a bus and go anywhere in london, though i find i tend to just go to soho and central london rather than to the outlying suburbs.

phone saga

11 Aug

london 4.16pm 21C cloudy saturday 2018. in the cafe in tate britain.

this is the first time that i have been with talk talk, my internet and phone provider, (i cant remember how long i am with them, but it must be more than 10yrs)where the dial tone is completely gone and the landline is dead. and since our broadband runs down via the landline, that knocks out our broadband too. i called them and after quite a number of tests  they tell me they could not find anything wrong with the whole system, and thinks that the trouble is something inside our flat. and they tried to ask me to follow their instructions to find out the fault.

i handed the phone to simon to let him deal with it, because it involved unscrewing the phone box junction, where we slot in the telephone. but it seems the engineer told simon that inside the box there is another connection … when simon said he dont see any connection, the engineer ask him to look closely. well simon lost his temper and asked them to send an engineer … and ask them to call back when they get one. later they called back and i answered and they were very conciliatory, they will divert my calls to my mobile phone so i can get calls to the landline as it is out of order, they will make an engineer appointment for 14 aug, and compensate me by refunding the days i dont have service between now and 14th, £3.28. 

it looks like BT is not saying their substation has been hit and is out of order.

the engineer they are going to send is a BT engineer… hmm, i hope that guy is not going to find something just to get BT off the hook. after all, if it is BT’s fault talk talk will be billing them thousands for lost service as well as bad feelings from all their customers. the thing is if the engineer finds fault with our equipment, talk talk can charge us £65 for the call out charge…

or maybe it just need a final adjustment  by a BT engineer before the equipment will start after it has been knocked out by the storm. talk talk even said their manager will call me on the 15th to find out what the result is and if i get back my landline working after the BT engineer has come.

i met my neighbour yesterday and i should have asked him if his phone is working again. just to confirm it is a general problem and not one specific to my flat. i forgot to ask him. but anyway, we will just have to wait till 14aug for the engineer to do his work and hopefully correct it. 

well, all this is a minor problem really. it wont kill us not to have broadband for a bit. 

my landline is still out of service

10 Aug


i was telling steve, the guy who goes to all those free food offers, about my landline not working, and that i found out it is due to a substation fault that is run by BT. he said to call talk talk my provider anyway, just to let them know and hope that they might chase BT to hasten the repair… so today i contacted talktalk on their online chat… to find out that i need to contact them when i am at home… so when i got back from the library where i could use the wifi there to contact them online, i called them on my mobile, which fortunately is still on the free calls, and they did the check, but i was left on hold for so long waiting for them to finish the check and tell me if i need an engineer to make a housecall, that it came close to the  1hr free call i am allowed to make and so i closed the call. i can call them back, i have 200mins of free calls a month, but i am a bit bored by it all, and so i shall just wait for another day to face them… the last person of their helpline that i got had quite a difficult accent, so that i can hardly understand her. or maybe i am just getting deaf. 

i doubt they can do anything anyway. but i have told them now and hope that it will register that i have called and lets see if they can do something about it. i am writing all this offline, and will post it when i go down to the tate britain and use their wifi. earlier i was about to go to the tate britain when a storm came up, and make me decide to delay going there. 

now the storm is over, so i shall most probably go .

simon is the one most affected by not having a wifi… he watches a lot of catch up tv. we can still watch tv, but only when it is showing at the time we watch.

 2.51pm here i am at the tate 15C. they said raining till 5pm but it has stopped here. sun has come out too.