Do they work or are they just living the Dream?
These are questions asked by Rusty and they are good ones, so today lets spend a little time discussing this very issue.
I am myself an Expat and considered to be living the dream.
Unfortunately dreams come in many forms and sometimes they are nightmares. I have had a few of these dreams lately, but all in all, my dream is a good one. Yes I am living the dream. Let me give you a little idea of what life is here for this expat. In the morning after waking with no alarm clock, I will head down to the lobby to perhaps meet some very happy and enjoyable tourists that is checking in. Perhaps I will walk out my front door for a swim in tranquil ocean waters, or perhaps I will jump on my bicycle and head out to meet a friend for a delicious mango\Pineapple\Passion fruit\Yogurt smoothie before heading out on some kind of adventure. Lately though, I have been swamped with the day to day dealing with a full hotel. That is also part of the dream. Sometimes I join them for a snorkeling tour, or a bike tour, other times I just sit down and talk. I guess I am the PR man and my loving wife is the real backbone behind the hotel. She is happy with being busy with the day to day operation of our busy little place. Anyway…. That is me… What about other expats?
I have a friend with who I go to lunch, go on bicycle rides, and sometimes just relax and have a drink. He was a gunner in a helicopter during the Vietnam War. He saw the joy and love in these people back when times were horrific. He may have come back to shed ghosts, but I do not think so. He is here because it is a practical as well as wonderful place to be. His pension gives him all he needs to retire here and he enjoys the people enough that he can fit in and enjoy. Perhaps that is why we have become friends. I feel the same way about the people here. There are some retiree expats that are like him, but not a lot.
Some expats are here because they are hiding from something. It could be tax evasion or perhaps bankruptcy, who knows. I have met a number of people here that I have had those feelings about. Sometimes the first thing that comes from their mouth is some kind of self important words about how successful or rich they were back home, but then I will observe actions that will indicate that they are in need of money. That is OK. Some of them are not to bad people, but are here for a second chance. I just wish they would not try to give an impression of what they perceived they were before coming here. Some expats come straight and say they have not much money and this is a country that is affordable to them….. BRAVO!
There are some here that are healing. Even 35 years later, there are still soldiers that have to return to make peace, and many of them that remember the love of a girlfriend, or a child that will haunt them until death. I understand how that can be. There has been more than a few who have burrowed their way into my heart, now people I will never forget. The same has to be true for the soldier here so many years ago.
Some expats are here for the value of the dollar only. Where else in the world can you have a good life for 700 dollars a month? Not only that, but there are a lot of similar minded people here for them to enjoy.
There are some here that are outcasts that do not fit within their own societies. Some disillusioned with their own government. Worse yet, they are hiding from prosecution. I have met a few of these people who have been accused or suspected of child abuse or other such atrocities. In some cases I get the feeling that the rumors might be true, but perhaps not. Maybe they are just rumors. I have to give the benefit of doubt. One thing is for sure…… I cannot be friends with some of these people. Thankfully they are restricted or trapped in the small world that is the tourist area. I really do not wish these people to become a part of my world.
At last, there are some men and women that come here to feel young again. Perhaps divorced with adult kids. They leave their country where they are no longer see themselves as being able to contribute, or feeling no longer needed. Here they become people that are in demand and people that are desired once more, especially by the opposite sex. Ahhhh…. love is in the air…..
I guess that there can be any number of reasons that a person can become an expat here, But I have to believe that the following reasons are mostly true.
1. It is one of the most inexpensive places to retire with an infrastructure that is acceptable to our standards.
2. The people are happy and generous and living amongst them is a joy. (Unlike some of the trapped souls in the tourist areas)
3. The climate is pleasant.
4. Housing is cheap and utilities low.
a few more Mekong Photos photos