lunedì 25 novembre 2013

The Wisdom of a Californian Retired

When I arrive in my beloved Bangkok I like to stay in Hotel Sananwan for many reasons: it is a cheap, clean hotel and has a friendly, english speaking staff, it has a nice swimming pool (Woraburi Hotel in Nana has only a roof "puddle"), it is sited in a very Thai and cheap area called Bangplee Yai, it is near a lovely old floating market and last but not least there are so many interesting travellers you can meet and have a talk during your stay.
This time it happened to have such a very interesting meeting a few hours before my departure (leaving Asia and BKK is always a sad story), while I was waiting for my lap top to connect skype. This guy whose name I can't remember, I'll call him, John (...I hope he won't get offended) is from California and has been living in Asia for 7 years as a retired. He travelled extensively in central and South America then he eventually chose Asia as his safe "retiring nest". Once I told him I am Italian he approached me with some spanish words as it usually happens, maybe because Spanish is a more charming language ahaha but I can speak it so I didn't mind his excuses. John told me that the best country for an American retired is certainly Thailand because this country is very well organized and reasonable cheap as far as the rate exchange keeps at this exchange rate (31THB for 1 dollar). Hospitals are clean, modern and well maintained, Internet connection dirty cheap and widely available, BKK  in particular and the country in general has good roads and transport system, people well educated, friendly and even poors are not starving and can use hospitals for a scrap of the real price of the service (in The Philippines he said that poors are just given a lethal order to send them fast to the heaven!) BUT he also added, and I totally agree with him, that Thailand is a very closed country, with bad relationships with its neighbours, closed in itself, not eager to learn english or other languages. If you are a Farang (foreigner) you can feel it always, everywhere and everytime, there is a kind of virtual barrier that keeps you as a second class cityzen, a barrier that you will never ever be able to cope with. Yet after a few lovestories, he fed up with Thai women because even those who can't speak english (too many even among Bangkok graduated young students), even those who have never had before a relationship with farangs, sooner or later tried to exploit him spurred by their friends or their family, especially if the lady is the oldest daughter, which means that her duty is to provide financial support for all her mother's family! He added that because of this, many retired farang friends have split up with their Thai girlfriends and prefer to be alone. John has also a house in Cebu City, in The Philippines, country that he seems to know very well and that he tried to explain me. He said that "Pinay women are the sweetest and the most beautiful of the world...but remember that their mum comes FIRST" and they live in a wonderful but very unfortunate country for several reasons: the politicians of The Philippines are very corrupted, much more than anywhere else, the country belongs entirely to a handful of families, there are regularly thyphoons and eathquakes ravaging and destroying houses, hospitals, churches and schools which will not be rebuilt by the government unless they are privately restored, there are many gangs of armed "bandidos"like in Mexico he said. Yet there is no middle class there, you are fucking rich or you are desperately poor like those very small kids sleeping on the roads of Manila which has a population density higher then Calcutta (!!). His favourite place in The Philippines is by far Palawan island where their is a slow pace lifestyle, natural beauties and also very low population density. But of course also a very low nightlife scene.
He has a beautiful Pinay girlfriend who, helped by him, is going to graduate soon, and he's also planning to take her in Thailand. Let's say that in his opinion a perfect combination would be to live in Thailand with a Pinay girlfriend.
What about Indonesia and Indonesian women I asked. He said to forget about this country full of fucking muslim fondamentalists who obliged their government to displace the 2013 Miss Universe Beauty contest from Jakarta to Bali (where several years ago there was a terrorist attack). He added that being an American they would immediately recognize him (how can they???), such a different and pleasant experience I had with Indonesians however!
I hope to meet John next year, he's a very good buddy and this is one of the most rewarding side of travelling around the world with open mind and smiling lips, receive something and give something to everyone you meet on your path of life.

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