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BANGKOK 18 March 2019 21:26

CaptainJack

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  1. Quick update. I had dinner last night with 3 young people from my hostel that had been in Colombia in the last month. They all had been robbed either at gunpoint or knife in Colombia. The bottom line came down to this. If i don't have an already established friend or connections in Colombia, it is too dangerous right now. If you go, do not fly into Bogota. Avoid Borgata at all costs. Don't consider going if you don't know Spanish. You are going to be ripped off, robbed and hopefully not worse. This is on the ground experience in the last 30 days. The information coming out of Internet groups is not lining up with personal experiences. CJ
  2. Hi Jingthing, I'm going to go exploring while I am in Mexico, so I'll check it out. Whats funny is I know how to live in the USA, in Thailand, in Mexico and I think Cambodia, probably even Vietnam considering have many times I've been there. Yes, I'll check it out. You know, I hope this exercise will have been of some use for others, not just me. This has been a net gain for me in pushing my personal limits at what is comfortable and using my brain to arrive at decisions right for me. Thanks for all your input and research. It has really been helpful. Now, I will pick a couple of temporary digs and decide where I want to hang my hat for awhile. Cheers, CJ
  3. That's it. I sat and read one article after another on Columbia this morning over my cappuccino. I'm pulling the plug on Columbia. After firsthand accounts from my new dorm mates who got in from Columbia yesterday explaining in vivid details how they were robbed twice, once at gunpoint, the other the police stopped their taxi, and confiscated their cellphones, I decided I'm not risking it. They also met several others there that had also been robbed at gunpoint for their cellphones. This I don't need. And, if I loose my electronics, I'm really in trouble. I can't pop into a Samsung store like in Bkk, get a replacement phone and be up and running before the end of the day, back to my apartment and having a beer watching RT out of Moscow while my girlfriend makes a lovely Thai dinne. My ability to navigate, do banking, make reservations and more are tied to my cellphone. To show up in Colombia, knowing no one and to try this is just stupid. No amount of an easy visa is worth dealing with this. It is ludicrous to go solo, no support, minimum language skills into a country with this kind of problem. I would have to be on high alert from the time I landed. So, I'm headed to Mexico City to hang as long as I want, up to six months. I can extend my travel insurance up to six months at this point. I can still travel and explore, the weather there is not so darn hot, get a place and just settle for awhile and wait to see what happens in Thailand after the elections and after my current visa expires. If I want, I can fly back to the USA and rent a small apartment in a small fishing town on the East Coast and hang their too. No car required. Enough of this. Hanging in Mexico is something I know how to do. Drug Cartels and all. I'm happy to answer questions if anyone wants to ask me anything. CJ https://thebogotapost.com/organised-criminal-gangs-behind-increase-in-cellphone-thefts-in-cali/29378
  4. Good grief, Put this one to rest. Thailand has a very specific set of rules for outbound transfers. If anyone wants to know them, go to their individual bank and ask. It will be in Thai. Get it translated. Many Thai banks are just going to refuse. Get the money out of an ATM and carry it out. Only Bangkok Bank appears to have a policy that conforms with the law. If you are deported, your outta luck. Best advice? Don't have too much money on deposit or don't get deported. If you get deported, don't cry. You put your money in a banking system that is not geared to protect or return your hard earned money. There is no answer to this question except everyone is responsible for their own financial decisions and problems if they don't understand the rules. Again, don't get deported.... https://www.bangkokbank.com/en/Personal/Other-Services/Transfers/Transferring-Out-of-Thailand
  5. Jingthing, For anyone wanting to debate this issue, I'd say first go visit the YouTube guy with throat cancer. Get his impressions now And then jump on to this topic. Night.
  6. One last comment from this morning's report. I am on my exploratory trip because of my specific reasons. I wanted to consider Latin America. Why? It is because it has some possibilities for me. I don't have to be here. I wanted to. I am at an age that even though I'm healthy, this is a challenge. At any time, I may pull the plug, go back to the USA or similar place, hunker down and wait until Thailand gets through it's elections and changes that BJ implements bringing an extensive FBI training resume to bare. I can only go so far with this program without committing to a place. I am definitely not as enthusiastic about Latin America as I was, but that is because I'm sifting through the enormity of information and trying to make sense of it all. One thing is different now that I'm here. I can see and experience as much as a visitor can first hand. And, I'm getting first hand reports from others just in Colombia, and that does not come close to even scratching the reality of living there. More to come.... Cheers...
  7. Ok, look. Lets not derail the topic, ok. You asked me why my decision. I don't care uf it is fear mongering or not. I don't want to wake up at 70 and be told I have to have insurance, especially if I cannot afford it. I am not saying it will or will not happen. I am making decisions for myself. Ok?
  8. Thanks! I agree totally with you with one exception. If I have to buy medical insurance and Thailand does not provide access for people my age and older as initial enrollees, the cost starts at 700 a month. This topic has been discussed at length, and I think most have stopped telling others how cheap it is. Why Colombia looked good. Access to their National health care at any age for two hundred dollars a month.
  9. My visa was obtained through official bribery and I did not know what was going on until after the fact. I thought I was paying for an expeditor. I was brand new in Thailand, had used expeditors for my India and Chinese visa from Texas. I was stupid and uninformed that tge level of offical corruption and bribery was as it was (is) in Thailand. I even had the Embassy letter. They did not use it, deposited 800k in my bank account abd withdrew the next day. I have to produce my bankbook for a renewal, and have been strongly advised against that. Oh, I went for my first 90 day report in Bkk, and was really shaken when the IO told me my address was in Chunburi. I lived in Bangkok. Cost me a lot of stress and running around and 5,000 baht, but was made right. My second 90 day report? They grilled me for an hour of the address stuff. I had all my records and receipts. They were not happy campers. I made the decision after talking to friends that I trust to leave under my own steam. CJ
  10. The first hand reports from my roommate's were Cali, Borgata and smaller cities I did not recognize. I agree on the state Department warning and how realistic it is. The report I referenced is more accurate and this one is good for perspective. And, this is a real concern for me. As a limited Spanish speaker and needing to use my phone if everything from reservations, banking, money, etc., having it stolen is not just an inconvenience. It could be, especially flying solo, a serious risk to my ability to function and stay safe. https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/ShowTopic-g294073-i1708-k12267055-Using_iphones_in_Bogota_Safe_to_do_so-Colombia.html
  11. One more thing. I speak limited Spanish. There seem to be less English speakers here then Thailand. I'm really needing fresh fruit. Plus better accommodations. I need better rest. There is a very important point to why I mention this. This entire exploration of parts of Latin America will only yield limited information. I'd have to commit, like with Thailand to live in one of these countries. Otherwise, I'll never get the true detailed information needed. What does that mean? Coming back to Thailand looks better (except the heat), but only if I know, and I believe we all will know in six months (when I potentially can return) if Thailand is going to stop this agressive treatment of expatriates and decide whether they are going to require comprehensive medical insurance for any long stay visa. There is a lot to consider....
  12. Quick note. As of today, my actual costs, including airfares and lodging, and the 800 dollars for the month back in Austin and food have totalled approximately 3,000 dollars. That would include the month in Austin staying with my brother and his wife and food. My total cost starting the Merida stage of this program, including all prepaid airfare has been approximately 1500 dollar's. I include the Austin segment as a staged segment. The actual Latin American program is really only in it's first week. On the ground experience is what I needed, and I'm reporting for my expatriate community.
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