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Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 11:51 AM   #1
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Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Inspired by the Off To Thailand topic, I am thinking about moving to India semi-permanently. My wife's uncle has 20 acres that he farms (betel nuts and bananas) just east of Mangalore. It's situated in rolling hillside country, lush with palms and rice paddies, about 25 km inland from the Arabian Sea. There's a hillside plot, about 4 acres, suitable for a building site.

Building costs in that area are about $20/sq.ft. and with upgrades to US standards for fixtures the cost will be about $150000 for a 5000 sq ft home (5 bedrooms with full baths, plus the necessary air conditioning, electric generator and other amenities).

It's about 200 miles from Bangalore where the rest of my wife's family lives (a 10 hour drive given the poor condition of the highways). Cost of living is practically nil, food is dirt cheap, utilities are reasonable, gasoline being the only exception at about $5/us gallon. We'll probably retain a full time cook, maid, driver and gardener while we're there, about $400/month.

The climate is semitropical, in the 80's most of the year, never falling below 60F. Being on a hillside instead of in the valley, there's usually a nice breeze in the mornings and evenings. The view is spectacular, green as far as the eye can see.

Now all I have to do is learn to speak Kannada, the local dialect. English is prevalent in the metro area, but not so much out in the boonies.
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Only question that comes to mind is what will you do for healthcare? That is a major impediment to moving to somewhere remote, especially as one ages.
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 12:04 PM   #3
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nearly50
Inspired by the Off To Thailand topic, I am thinking about moving to India semi-permanently. My wife's uncle has 20 acres that he farms (betel nuts and bananas) just east of Mangalore.
Hey, we grow bananas & betel nuts too! We've been giving away the betels. What's his retail price?
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 12:25 PM   #4
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Healthcare is one of the reasons for moving there. Medical care is much less expensive than in the US. Plus two of my sister-in-laws are doctors in Bangalore, so I think I'm well covered in that arena. Private health insurance is about Rs 20000 per year if you want to buy it (that's about $550/year).

During our last visit there in October, my wife caught a mild infection. We just went down to the local pharmacy and asked for a prescription antibiotic (without a prescription, mind you) and we got it over the counter. They figure that if you know the name of the drug you need, you can get some. Wild! One week's supply of the pills only cost us about $3.

Nords, I'm not sure what the going rate for betel nuts is. My uncle says there's a large market in North India for a particular species of nuts (that he grows) and that these are more profitable than the other kind. He used to grow rice, but there is a shortage of farm labor (go figure) since all of the young men who used to work as farm hands are off working in the Emirates. Next time I talk to him, I'll ask him what he gets for his produce.
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 12:57 PM   #5
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Yes, I know that healthcare is vastly cheaper in India. I was more asking about what you do i you have an emergency or prolonged need for care when the nearest cityis 10 hours away via rough roads.
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 01:32 PM   #6
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Hi, Brewer: Bangalore is not my first choice for health care. Sorry if I gave that false impression. The nearest town is Puttur (pop. 48000), about 20 minutes away on relatively good roads. Many decent private hospitals there. Mangalore (pop. 540000) is about 45 minutes (15 miles) away, and has dozens of large and small hospitals and medical colleges.

Currently I live in suburban Maryland, and the nearest hospitals are Frederick General (30 minutes away) and Shady Grove Adventist (40 minutes away). The emergency situation is about the same.

I'm pretty sure that there are local doctors trained in EMT within a 10 minute radius who would respond to emergencies. For normal non-emergency care, I'd go where the locals go, or for non-critical ailments I'd self-medicate under the advise of my sister-in-law doctors.

You raise a good point, though, and I'll check into this aspect in more depth on my next visit in 2007. One thing my wife told me is that western Karnataka is much cleaner than the big cities in the interior and so health related problems due to infectious diseases are much less.


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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 02:12 PM   #7
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nearly50
We'll probably retain a full time cook, maid, driver and gardener while we're there, about $400/month.
That's 4 people at $100/month/each. Sounds a little high to me. May be up to 20% high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nearly50
Private health insurance is about Rs 20000 per year if you want to buy it (that's about $550/year).
Is that for one person or for one couple?

So, I am guessing your budget (for 2) will be around $1,500/month, excluding housing. Correct? When do you plan to do it?
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 02:18 PM   #8
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

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Originally Posted by Nords
Hey, we grow bananas & betel nuts too! We've been giving away the betels. What's his retail price?
Betel nuts by themselve are cheap, unless you buy them in Taiwan
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 02:35 PM   #9
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

What makes your move wise is the fact that you have family there. However reasonable the living cost, a social network is priceless.

So, can you get dsl?
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 02:39 PM   #10
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

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So, can you get dsl?
He's relying on generators for electricity, so I doubt he can get dsl. But satellite connection should be feasible.
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-14-2006, 05:47 PM   #11
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

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Originally Posted by nearly50


Now all I have to do is learn to speak Kannada,
I think thats what they speak in Toronto, eh?
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-15-2006, 09:23 AM   #12
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Everyone there has a generator as backup. Power lines are already on site, but the power is notoriously fickle. To prevent my freezer from thawing, my bore well pump operating, and my television and computer running, I'll use an automatic generator that runs on an LPG fuel tank which is also used for cooking and hot water assist to a solar water heater. I'll be looking at going as green as possible when I build the house, using passive and active solar cooling and power generation. This might push up the price of the house somewhat, but I expect my power needs to be minimal as there's no need for heating in winter.

DSL is probably not available in my area. Given the rate at which India is setting up infrastructure for telecommunications (especially in rural areas which are a priority with the State government), I don't think it will be long before it becomess available. Otherwise I'll go with one of the many satellite internet providers. Speeds will suck compared to my cable modem, but that's the price you pay for living in paradise!

I'll be jonesing for beef while I live there. The sale of beef is banned in western Karnataka for religious reasons, but I'll be taking periodic trips to Bangalore with a dry ice chest to cart back my BBQ meat. Coca-cola is also not available, so that's on my shopping list too.

I've learned a few words in Kannada already, especially the ones you use to swear at other drivers on the road, and to shoo away beggars! I'm afraid the Canadian I learned to speak growing up in Montreal is of no use there.

I have a 4-year plan to get set to move there. First year is scoping out good general contractors and a local architect and getting plans and permits. Second year will start construction, first with a garage with a guest apartment above it so that I can live on site while the house is being built. Third year we start moving in and furnishing the place, but I think we'll be spending no more than 3 months per year there to begin with. We need to do some landscaping, as the hill is rather rocky and there's not much vegetation on the hill to stablilize the soil. My wife wants to finish working here by 2010 when her options vest, so in year 4 we move in completely and sell or rent our house here in the US.

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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-15-2006, 09:33 AM   #13
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Here's a snapshot of the view from the hilltop. The smoke rising from the jungle is betel nut husks being burned to heat bath water at the various farms in the valley.


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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-15-2006, 11:14 AM   #14
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nearly50
Everyone there has a generator as backup. Power lines are already on site, but the power is notoriously fickle. To prevent my freezer from thawing, my bore well pump operating, and my television and computer running, I'll use an automatic generator that runs on an LPG fuel tank which is also used for cooking and hot water assist to a solar water heater. I'll be looking at going as green as possible when I build the house, using passive and active solar cooling and power generation. This might push up the price of the house somewhat, but I expect my power needs to be minimal as there's no need for heating in winter.
Sounds like home! I live on an island, just a few miles from a major American city. We designed our home to accomodate a propane generator, and we use it for hot water and cooking too. Solar wouldn't likely be cost effective, but we did have solar hot water in our former home. Be sure that the dip tube and the tank lining accomodate the temperature of the water at intake.
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-15-2006, 12:36 PM   #15
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Nearly50, that sounds exciting and delightful. We loved our visit to India, especially South India. My husband was well-diagnosed and treated for a respiratory ailment by an Indian doctor, plus I picked up some meds at a pharmacy (cheap, no prescription needed, easy--all you need is the name of the drug, just like you said). I hope you'll continue to post about how it goes--or start blogging your adventure and let us know how to find you online. One of my Indian friends in Silicon Valley is from Mangalore, and she made it sound quite appealing.
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)
Old 11-16-2006, 02:25 PM   #16
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Re: Off To India (Dakshina Kannada)

Yes we are very interested in the expat life style. With family three you have half the battle won. The remoteness of the location might be a factor for you. Running out of milk or coffee, might be a little bit of a bother. Also, not to many restaurants around for when "ya just don't feel like cooking one more night". Oh, Oh, I forgot. You don't have to do that do you. That sounds like heaven to me.

Curious on satalite Internet. Can that be set up anywhere? What companies are involved? Are the companies universal (cover all areas of the globe)

Always wondered about that when thoughts of locating somewhere else in more remote less developed countries. Of course I realize the big cities in India are very tech oriented.
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