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Old 10-26-2007, 04:16 PM   #21
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I do think these kinds of statements may put people off from trying out the expat lifestyle, like they will have to worry about getting screwed all the time once they leave the U.S. It's just not the case.
I think this only applies when tourists are going to relatively poor areas, in part because they have a lower price structure. In Cuba, it is institutionalized.

If you go somewhere in some beat-up place, and you are one of the few foreigners they have ever seen, they aren't going to gouge you. If more of the tourist tribe find the place, the locals will learn how to maximize revenues.

The tourist-local relationship in popular places in mainly mutual distrust, or ignorance on the part of the tourist, and avarice and cunning on the part of the local.

How could it not be?

Ha
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Old 10-26-2007, 10:25 PM   #22
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The global world and travel has beaten the path too wide to many places. World travel has become to cheap and easy. Thailand is adjusting its policies to benefit more from people it decides to let stay long term and it is about time. They want retirees and long stayers to live to the same standard as they would in their own country. The place has turned into somewhat of a foreign ghetto.
Whenever you have hoards of foreigners relying on each other
for their life line and income such as the many real estate
agents and businesses it is mainly down hill from there and adjustments are quick to come and many times not in a nice way.

Yes a Tip in the early 90's was a reward for good service but now
days is expected as part of the deal of you being allowed to be in their country. The welcome has worn thin in other words.

JMHO
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:14 AM   #23
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I think this only applies when tourists are going to relatively poor areas, in part because they have a lower price structure. In Cuba, it is institutionalized.

If you go somewhere in some beat-up place, and you are one of the few foreigners they have ever seen, they aren't going to gouge you. If more of the tourist tribe find the place, the locals will learn how to maximize revenues. Ha
Yes, when I go "upcountry" in Thailand 99% of the time I pay the local price, probably because there are not so many two week millionaires throwing money around. Thailand Tourist Authority claims that they receive around 15 million visitors per year and if you beleive their numbers, for a nation of 60 million Thais, I think they suffer a bit of visitor fatigue.

But the Thais are also "equal opportunity" folk and rip each other off as well. (corrupt overseas labor contractors, landlords, employers, government officials, police...) Most asian countries are very hierarchial and the less affluent are not always treated so nicely by their "superiors."

At the end of the day, its just the way it is, but I still grumble about it
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Old 10-27-2007, 08:13 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Trek

I do think these kinds of statements may put people off from trying out the expat lifestyle, like they will have to worry about getting screwed all the time once they leave the U.S. It's just not the case.
HA
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I think this only applies when tourists are going to relatively poor areas, in part because they have a lower price structure. In Cuba, it is institutionalized.
Trek you have a good point and Ha you have it right on the money. If an American (or Canadian) wants to be an Expat in a first world country, there is less of a chance for the two price system to show itself.

That being said, Tourist Destinations all over the world charge higher prices because they can get them. Buying a bowl of clam chowder, a tee shirt or a plate of french fries down by the ocean will always cost more than a few blocks away from the best views.

There is a reason why rates for lodging and services go up in peak season. This provides another motive to travel during 'shoulder periods' or what can be called the 'Green Season' (rainy periods) or the 'Lean Season' (off-peak times).

I do stand by what I said - being an Expat in a 3rd (or even 2nd) World Country will provide you lots of opportunities to try and get local to benefit from their pricing. Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, The Philippines, Burma, and Mexico, for example all will try to charge foreigners more if they can. The best way to protect one's self from this is to learn the language, the customs or have a local girlfriend who will do the shopping, business transactions, etc. for you.

I wouldn't exactly say one is getting 'screwed.' That's certainly not how I view it. It's 'just the way it is.' The more local one gets, the better off one's lifestyle becomes.
Lance:
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Yes, when I go "upcountry" in Thailand 99% of the time I pay the local price, probably because there are not so many two week millionaires throwing money around.
Exactly. Two Week Millionaires
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It's a difficult psychological change to contemplate when your massage fantasies "evolve" from sexual to pain relief...
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I was in the PI a few months ago, just a party break from work. Found it dirtier than Thailand but was nice everyone spoke english. Didn't make it to my destination of Cebu and actually decided to head back to work after a couple weeks...
It took Billy and me a good 11 days to 'get the drift' of being here. We're not city people really, and being in places like Manila, and Cebu City were depressing and overwhelming. Once we found how to get to the green tropical beauty of the islands, we were fine. The cities were dirty, scattered, broken and filled with the city poor.

Be well,
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Old 10-27-2007, 10:23 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Lancelot View Post
Yes, when I go "upcountry" in Thailand 99% of the time I pay the local price, probably because there are not so many two week millionaires throwing money around. Thailand Tourist Authority claims that they receive around 15 million visitors per year and if you beleive their numbers, for a nation of 60 million Thais, I think they suffer a bit of visitor fatigue.

But the Thais are also "equal opportunity" folk and rip each other off as well. (corrupt overseas labor contractors, landlords, employers, government officials, police...) Most asian countries are very hierarchial and the less affluent are not always treated so nicely by their "superiors."

At the end of the day, its just the way it is, but I still grumble about it

Yes the thai system as many other asian countries is
coruption from the average government employee
( it is kind of their private business also).

A third of those 15 mil visitors are the 30 and 90 day perpetual tourist defacto residents. The fact that Thailand ends up with the majority of it's western foreigners being in the bottom 30% of western wage earners, you know the real brainy types. The ones that would stop working in their 40's and 50's and retire back home on 1500 a month with no real assets. The retiree types that
look at the ones that actual had a planned retirement and can afford a decent
life after work as being the ones that killed the goose that lays the golden eggs.
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Old 10-28-2007, 12:21 PM   #26
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In PV I go to the Mexican neighborhood to get my hair cut for 45 pesos. The price at the hair salon around the corner from our place is 180 pesos (gringo special). The only challenge is that they speak no English. But so far so good.

PS I really enjoyed the Filipinos when I worked in Makati City (Manila business district) where we employed 16 of them.
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Old 10-29-2007, 05:53 AM   #27
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29 Oct 07
Visa changes at Thai Penang consulate

News for visa runners & married men

The Royal Thai consulate general in Penang, Malaysia, has indicated that officers there will now limit applications
from foreigners applying to visit Thailand as tourists to just three 60 day visas. A travel agent in Penang, who handles
applications on a daily basis, said The consulate is now counting the number of times they have issued a single entry
60 day visa to an individual. The new limit is three and there will likely be a note in the applicants passport from now
on. This is not the first time there has been such a crackdown on repeat applications for tourist visas. The logic seems
to be that visit visas are not designed for foreigners seeking residency. It is argued that bona fide retirees with money
in the bank or pension income, foreigners working legally in the kingdom and those with Thai wives and dependants
can apply for one year visas at Thai immigration offices provided they have the requisite documentation and cash back
-up. The current squeeze seems to be aimed at long stay foreigners in Thailand who don't otherwise qualify for long
stay visas, typically men on limited incomes who rely on renewing their visa time and again at Cambodian border posts
or Thai consulates in nearby countries. Penang has recently grown in popularity as a visa haven and the town has a
growing number of bars catering for visa runners. This trend is now under threat after the recent ruling. Other Thai
consulates and embassies in the region are unlikely to offer more generous visa extensions than Penang. Those in
Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos and Singapore to name but four are known to be just as restrictive if not more so.
An official source said, There seems to be a progressive squeeze against foreign men with very limited resources
trying to live in Thailand. If they don't qualify for one year visas in Thailand, their options of going repeatedly to a
Cambodian border post (30 days on arrival) or getting numerous prior visas in Penang (60 days) are disappearing.
He added that he advised people in this situation to return to their home countries, usually in Europe, to obtain
multiple entry non immigrant visas which are valid for a year at a time. But we all know, he explained, that many can't
afford the trip or are reluctant to fly home in case they come to official attention at the airport.
Another consequence of visa squeezes is that some foreigners go into overstay in Thailand as they can't find a way
to renew cheaply. The number of arrests for visa overstayers in Pattaya is rising, but there are no published figures.
But there is better news from Penang for foreign men married to a Thai woman. They can now obtain a multiple entry
non immigrant "O" visa, valid for a year, provided they take 1. Their original passport (copy of ID page) and two passport
photos; 2. Signed copy of wife's Thai ID card; 3. Signed copy of marriage certificate signed by both parties
(original needs to be shown too); 4. Copy of personal Thai bank book showing at least 400,000 baht
(original also needs to be produced); 5. Confirmatory letter from bank, not more than one week old.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Contributor's note: The Pattayatoday is a bit of a tabloid. The generalizations, the
haughty, offensive tone throughout. Quoting official sources who are never named.
Let's face it, Bangkok Post it's not. October 1st is the 1 year anniversary of the
changes so I guess the next few weeks will tell if this is just more bad news.
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:15 AM   #28
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PS I really enjoyed the Filipinos when I worked in Makati City (Manila business district) where we employed 16 of them.
The Filipinos are the real jewel of the country, no doubt. They smile, everyone says 'good morning, afternoon or evening' as appropriate and the children are open and unafraid.

The inter island transit system poses a bit of a problem that took us a while to figure out. We would go to the counter at the ferry terminal to book a round trip to an island and would be told that the times have changed -- or the days the ferry was offered. Or, for instance, our reserved flight ticket on Philippine Airlines changed our times leaving Manila causing us to miss our connecting flight in BKK.

It's not as efficient as Thailand, but the people are very warm and appealing. Just different customs and ways of doing business.

Be well,
Akaisha
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:55 AM   #29
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Since we lived there off and on for 10 years, over that time period we saw what the 'rich Gringos' did to the area by over paying everyone...
The record was at a company convention at the Camino Real in Mexico City. When we arrived, a taxi to the Zona Rosa was 25 cents, and 2 days later it was $5!
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:42 PM   #30
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The record was at a company convention at the Camino Real in Mexico City. When we arrived, a taxi to the Zona Rosa was 25 cents, and 2 days later it was $5!
That says it all, doesn't it? Taxi drivers are notorious, but it happens with other services too - or even hotel prices. That's why we like to travel in 'shoulder periods' when everyone is hungrier and is willing to bargain.

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