Is Thailand really cheap? Personally, I don't think it's nearly as cheap as some people think. Street food is cheap and apartments are cheap, but this is about where it ends.
Before we got married and had kids, my wife bought Pad Thai for 5 baht. She would buy 3 packages, we would split them and for about 40 cents we were both full. Food in the grocery can be three to five times higher than in the United States.
Apartments can be had for $150-$250 a month, but in many cases, you get what you pay for. They're still a good value for the money, but the point is that while Thailand might seem cheap, the days when you could eat a meal for 5-10 baht (15-30 cents) are long, long gone. A subscriber commented that Thai street food is far better for you than what is sold in the grocery. Of course, he didn't know that much of the seafood is injected with formaline (formaldehyde) and the fruit and vegetables were found to have a much higher level of pesticides than is acceptable. In Thailand, things are not always as they seem.
Alright, so I always have ideas rolling around in my head. I have a new idea for a videos series, Gone in 60 Seconds, in which I answer one or two questions in 60 seconds. Short, to the point, and hopefully, informative. Also, I've been working on my next book for the past few months and I have started recording the audio version. Without giving away too much, the book is comprised of some of the letters I have received over the past three years, interspersed with my own comments.
Finally, as I said a few days ago, I have several projects I am working on. The first is a walk from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, another has to do with seldom discussed cultures in Vietnam, all of which were originally Thai. Then there's Hong Kong, a place I have never been. In addition, I am working on getting some new equipment, audio and visual, that should further improve the quality of my videos.
Some exciting news. In a few weeks I will walk from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. Hopefully I'll make it. It will be tiring, for sure, but I'm confident I can make it fairly easily. After this I'll take a break and then a month later, I'm heading to Vietnam. I have been wanting to go back to Vietnam for quite some time and this time, I'll be going out in the villages in search of some of the lesser known tribes and cultures. The Cham is one of these ethnic groups - they actually speak a version of Thai and consider themselves Thai.
The above video is an excerpt of a conversation I had with Bob Climier, a retired linguist who now spends all his time researching the various tribes scattered throughout Southeast Asia. I intend to go to the areas where these groups live to get a glimpse of what their lives are like and how they differ from the Vietnamese, Khmer and Thai lifestyles.
Should be interesting - although I know relatively little about these groups, Bob has helped me quite a bit and will continue to do so. Stay tuned, my guess it will be hot, messy, weird and enlightening.