Saturday, December 13, 2003

Asian Hobopoet
by Skald

I am now settled comfortably in Bangkok... living super cheap and quite comfortably. Rent is only $63 dollars a month... less expensive than my monthly gas bill while living in the van. I can eat well at street stalls for 50 cents.... nice big helpings of rice or Pad Thai noodles or omelletes. Half of a fresh pineapple costs 25 cents. A big slice of watermelon is also 25 cents.

An hour Thai massage costs $2.50. A new release movie at a theater costs $2.50. It's easy to drop into one of the many guesthouses and watch free movies on DVD. Most guesthouses have a full nightly schedule of movies. Internet access costs 75cents per hour at internet cafes or can be had for free at Thamasat University Library.

It is possible to telephone the United States for 7cents a minute using the Bigzoo callback plan. Check out Bigzoo for more information. Bigzoo is also an option for hobopoets in America who do not have a phone... the bigzoo domestic rates are quite cheap.

Another super-cheap option (or free) is to do an extended meditation retreat here in Thailand. There are two Vipassana Centers here. It is also possible to stay in a Thai monastary and live for free while studying Buddhism.

On arrival to Bangkok, it is easy to find super-cheap guesthouses to stay in while you look for apartments. Check out a Lonely Planet guide and look under the Budget headings.

The cheapest place of all to live, if you don't need or want to work, is on the beach. Beach bungalows can be found for $1-2 dollars a day. I get bored if I stay too long on the beach, however, so I've chosen to live in Bangkok. And still, compared to the Hobovan experiment in America, I am living more luxuriously and spending less money!

I am here on a student visa, as I am studying Thai at a language school. For those who will need to work, it is very easy to get an English teaching job here. The basic requirement is a bachelors degree. If you don't have one, fake degrees can be bought on Kao San Rd.... many small language schools will accept these... though they aren't necessarily the best places to work.

The best overall site I've found for information about living and working in Bangkok is Stickman's Guide To Bangkok. Stickman seems a little grumpy and burned out, so his tone is cynical. But his site is chock full of practical and useful information. I'll try to pirate some of it and put it on Hobopoet in the near future.

I also intend to add information about "Being an International Hobopoet By Teaching English"... I'll put TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) links on the sidebar.

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