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Old 02-23-2016, 10:23 AM   #61
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Thailand sounds intriguing. Never been anywhere close. could you recommend a source of information? I would especially like to read about folks' experiences traveling there.
We spent a winter in South East Asia and probably about a month traveling around Thailand. I think you'll have to go and experience it for yourself to make any kind of decision as to whether it's a place you want to winter. One thing we discovered in our travels is that most travel writers / bloggers totally oversell places and very rarely discuss any drawbacks whatsoever.

We went to Thailand with high expectations and it certainly was a great place to tour. I'm not completely sold on it as a place I want to spend months at a time, though. I know some people just love, love, LOVE!!! it. We certainly liked it, but there's a bunch of stuff you'd have to get used to if you were to settle there for an extended period.

Here's some pros & cons about Thailand off the top of my head

Pros:
Inexpensive
The weather is "nice" (see cons)
The beaches are pretty
The food is great

Cons
It can be terribly hot
It's very far to travel
Air pollution can be awful
The food ain't always so great in the places where the beaches are nice
Things don't always work like you think they should

I wrote a somewhat tongue & cheek article about living outside the U.S. for a year titled Things I Miss About the U.S. Not all of that applies to Thailand, but that guy at the pool is totally Koh Samui.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:37 AM   #62
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...

I wrote a somewhat tongue & cheek article about living outside the U.S. for a year titled Things I Miss About the U.S. Not all of that applies to Thailand, but that guy at the pool is totally Koh Samui.
Thanks for the smiles at that link.

Related: middle son's S.O., who did not grow up in US, spent summer working at the Hague. Upon return to flyover country for school, she realized just how much she missed our grocery stores.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:43 AM   #63
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Thanks for the smiles at that link.

Related: middle son's S.O., who did not grow up in US, spent summer working at the Hague. Upon return to flyover country for school, she realized just how much she missed our grocery stores.
+1 on the grocery stores. We're having similar issues in Mexico.

Shopping at three different local markets for dinner ingredients and finding that the things that were available yesterday are not available today is "charming" and "exotic" when you're doing it as a tourist. Living that way can get a little tedious, though.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:55 AM   #64
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Nobody has mentioned Europe yet. Spain, Portugal, and Italy have nice climates and are nice places to visit. It won't be swim-in-the-ocean type weather probably, but it will be much warmer than home.
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:43 PM   #65
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I vacation both in both Mexico and the Caribbean. I can be in Cabo in four hours and PV in six. I have to do red eye's and travel for 12-18 hours to go to the Caribbean. You however being in NY can get quick and less expensive flights to the Bahamas, West Indies, PR and Dom Republic. Also to the Belize and Cancun area. Both have their advantages. East is water much prettier than almost all of Mexico. If you go to Mexico your grocery bill will be much less. All comes down to personal preference.
I just got back from St Maarten and Anguilla. I swear 85% of the visitors were either Mass residents or NY/NJ. They all go down each year and stay the winters. Was like old home week. I highly recommend that area. Have been to Grand Cayman and the Bahamas numerous times. For where you're located I think the Caribbean is a fantastic place to visit.

On the other hand Playa Del Carmen or Tulum in Mexico or Belize are excellent choices.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:05 PM   #66
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+1 on the grocery stores. We're having similar issues in Mexico.

Shopping at three different local markets for dinner ingredients and finding that the things that were available yesterday are not available today is "charming" and "exotic" when you're doing it as a tourist. Living that way can get a little tedious, though.
Ha ha, I can totally relate. After a week of buying the most awesome, perfectly ripe, dirt cheap mangoes in San Miguel de Allende, I showed up to get a dozen or so mangoes for dessert that night and breakfast the next day. The handful of vendors in our cozy market 2 blocks from our little villa had almost doubled the price of mangoes and they were all nearly rotten with black spots all over and a few days past the peak of ripeness. Something about the truck from Mexico City never showed up so nobody's got any mangoes. No hay, senor. No hay. Manana.

And running from the market (to get mangoes and rice) to the chicken restaurant (which also randomly ran out of chickens at 4 pm - how can you do that when you only sell roasted chickens?!) to the tamale restaurant to the guy selling pastries and rolls out of his trunk to the tortilleria just to pick up dinner and breakfast sounds really awesome until it starts pouring rain at the third stop on your whirlwind shopping trip and you still have 2 more stops on foot and then have to walk back home. On rain-slicked cobblestone streets with the random mound of dog excrement. I'm not exactly complaining but I definitely appreciate super walmart (where I can get all that stuff except the tamales).
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Old 02-24-2016, 06:37 AM   #67
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I just got back from St Maarten and Anguilla. I swear 85% of the visitors were either Mass residents or NY/NJ. They all go down each year and stay the winters. Was like old home week. I highly recommend that area. Have been to Grand Cayman and the Bahamas numerous times. For where you're located I think the Caribbean is a fantastic place to visit.

On the other hand Playa Del Carmen or Tulum in Mexico or Belize are excellent choices.
If I were to take the bride to St. Maarten to check it out, where would you recommend I stay, say for a week or two? Is it a safe place for tourists to move around?
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Old 02-24-2016, 07:56 AM   #68
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Ha ha, I can totally relate. After a week of buying the most awesome, perfectly ripe, dirt cheap mangoes in San Miguel de Allende . . .
Totally agree. But you do highlight one bright spot. For some reason fruits and vegetables taste so much better elsewhere in the world.

I've read that U.S. agriculture emphasizes crop yields over fruit flavor. It definitely seems that way. As just one example, a simple Greek salad consisting of nothing more than cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, red onions, some cheese, and olive oil is off the charts delicious in Greece (especially if you get one with capers from Santorini). We pretty much lived on them for the month we were there and we missed them terribly after we left.

In the U.S. people will drench those same ingredients in a heavy dressing just so they can choke them down. It's almost like a completely different food.
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Old 02-24-2016, 08:04 AM   #69
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Can totally relate. But you do highlight one bright spot. For some reason fruits and vegetables taste so much better elsewhere in the world.

I've read that U.S. agriculture emphasizes crop yields over fruit flavor. It definitely seems that way. As just one example, a simple Greek salad consisting of nothing more than cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, red onions, some cheese, and olive oil is off the charts delicious in Greece. We pretty much lived on them for the month we were there and we missed them terribly after we left.

....
Shipping capability may play an even bigger role, as yield can be more easily overcome with premium pricing. My own example: We eat caprese salad as our main course 3-4 days a week in local growing season (and as a side on the other 3-4 days). But, Cherokee Purple tomatoes are a requirement for us to do that--and they do not tolerate shipping (Nor is their yield high, so +1 for each of us!).
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:52 AM   #70
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We are in Thaland now-on Koh Lanta. This is out third year in Thailand and SE Asia. Last year we went south this year we will make our way to Vietnam via Cambodia.

We love Thailand-the people, the food, the ocean. We do not spend time in Bangkok..we just head south to the islands. It is a long trip but we feel it is worth it since we stay for 8-12 weeks. After being in Thailand for three winters Florida, hawaii, Ca, etc hold zero appeal to us. Plus our shrinking Canadian dollar goes do much further here. Next winter will be Sourh America.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:40 AM   #71
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We love the chaos when we get to Mexico each year. Then we appreciate the order when we get home. And all fruits and vegetables are local too (except WA apples).
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:05 PM   #72
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Since retiring and traveling to places like Thailand and Cista Rica our diet has changed sustantially-even when we return home. Lots of fruit, salad, fresh veg, much less red meat, breads, fried food, and almost zero processed food or fast food. We feel so much better for it and we have both lost weight down to our recommended weights.
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