Encountering a heavy bout of turbulence, Diane and I fastened our seat belts and sat peacefully as we watched other passengers meandering about the cabin. After 13 years in a post 9/11 world, all Americans understand that full compliance with any instructions by flight attendants and crew members is mandatory, not optional. Oddly enough, not only did nobody listen, several passengers seated in first class wandered back and started conversations with friends seated elsewhere. Realizing Ecuadorians are not Asians, we found it a bit unnerving that an American based airline would allow total disregard for Federal safety rules once out of U.S, airspace.
Nazca Boobies on Genovesa Island in The Galapagos chain
Travelling in November, a relatively empty season for tourism, Diane and I were adventuring to Qutio for the South American leg of our annual Expat Destination Research vacation. Having already gained positive impressions from two trips to Southeast Asia where we engaged in excellent adventures like trekking to a village of Hill people and spending quality time with orangutans, we decided to investigate the reasons behind the hoopla of the hottest expat destination according to Forbes and International Living. Although the mostly local passengers on the plane provided an interesting first impression, all negativity quickly faded after landing. Blessed with mountains, rain forest, beautiful beaches and The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is one of only a few expat havens with so much to offer in one small country. Continue reading →
Realizing flexibility and open-mindedness is the key to a successful overseas expat adventure, Diane and I began recalling some interesting albeit odd occurrences we experienced in Thailand. Having just learned about new rules on income verification for all MM2H applicants (the Malaysian Social Visit Pass), I recently posted about concerns for American applicants due to strict privacy rules prohibiting disclosure of certain financial information. Deciding to rehash Thailand as a real possibility should the Malaysian government reject our application, we reflected on some sights and sounds that proved interesting.
Although paltry compared to our adventures trekking to a Hill Tribe village or spending the day as an elephant owner, the fish massages scattered throughout the country stand out. Strolling through Bangkok searching for a Thai Massage, a local suggested we head down a side street but instead of a petite Thai masseuse we found several small studios with fish tanks, towels and shopkeepers poised outside waiting for the next tourist. Unfamiliar with this bizarre practice, we figured it couldn’t be any worse than eating bugs for the first time so we pulled out a few Thai Bhat and gave it a shot.
Looking back, it’s hard to imagine but they say “time flies when you’re having fun” and today marks the one year anniversary of my unexpected layoff. Recognizing that the odds of unemployed workers in late career successfully re-entering the workforce are slim, the life-changing event was the final straw in our decision to push up early retirement and become overseas expatriates.
Choosing Malaysia over Thailand despite large financial requirements for the MM2H visa, a social entry visit pass allowing unlimited entry to the country, I developed a new sense of the expression “patience is a virtue” as we began the long 18 month wait to my 50th birthday. Reaching that milestone allows an individual and their dependents the right to file paperwork under a status that demands a mere $150,000 MYR fixed deposit. Owing a large debt of gratitude to my former employer for getting me out the rate race, I’d like to personally thank H*** M*** Capital Management for their horribly stupid decision that left them devoid of the best operations and support person they ever had. An example of the thanks you get for breaking your ass include the useless brochure seen here ⇐