Who says one need be a newly minted millionaire? Outside the western world of Europe and North America is a vast world where one can live a similar life style to someone living in the western world.

I’m sitting at goat cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I’ve been coming here for 21 years. Chiang Mai is the second biggest city in Thailand and in the nearby mountain Doi Suthep is where the Royal family of Thailand keep their summer home.

Even though their has been inflation here ,the Canadian dollar I have earned in the West still holds its’ value. When I arrived in April of 1990, the exchange rate was 17 Baht to the Canadian dollar. It has doubled since then and yesterday at my private exchange place it was 30.70 . Last week it went as high as 31.20.

My budget when wintering here is about 1000 Baht a day which is about 33.3 dollars. Including my rent of $6.00 a day or $200 a month that includes drinking water as well as all the utilities, cable t.v. – which I unplugged along with the microwave and fridge when I first entered the room.

A breakfast of an omelette containing several eggs, vegetables and two pieces of delicious healthy bread cost me exactly two bucks. Coffee cost is at a premium here at a bit over one dollar a cup for what is called hot coffee.  A latte would be $1.50 a far cry from the Star bucks five dollar latte.

For lunch I go to a department store and put together a salad that cost me about $1.30 that includes and egg for protein. A delicious pad thai with shrimp dinner will put me back a  little over a buck at 35 Baht.

As for clothing, one can buy a lovely cotton shirt for six bucks. You can also have tailors make clothing for a perfect fit.

An air con cab from the airport will set you back 150 Baht or exactly five bucks.

Through out the city you flag down a little red truck equipped with side boards and tell the driver where you want to go. That will cost you 20 Baht or about $.75. wehn I arrived 21 years ago it was five Baht. Then it went up to seven Baht . Ten years ago it went to ten Baht. Three years ago it was 15 Baht . Inflation is invasive in wherever  you go in the world. Many of the cabs at the airport have a propane tank in their trunk to avoid the high cost of gasoline.

Then there is the tuk tuk driver driving what is essentially a 3 wheeled motorcycle. They then to be expensive and the drivers aggressive so I tend to avoid them unless I’m in an emergency to get somewhere quickly. It’s unfortunate really as they would be the ideal form of transportation if they were electric and had courteous drivers. As it is ,they are very noisy as a lot , often