April 2012

A granite Hindu temple. It sounded cool when my tuk tuk driver mentioned it to me, but I didn’t realize just how cool it was until I was standing in front of it. It was like walking into a temple from Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Lara Croft Tomb Raider, except this temple, was not covered in squishy green moss, or surrounded by ancient trees, it’s not in the middle of nowhere, it’s in the heart of Colombo.

It’s been raining on and off today, but that hasn’t stopped me from climbing into a metered tuk tuk, in search of a local fruit and vegetable market in Pettah. Pettah is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Colombo. The buildings are worn, and crumbling (as they are in many parts of the city). Most of the buildings are a dirty cream colour, or a grimy grey, however, there are occasional splashes of colour, then have also become grubby-looking over time.  This is a common sight in not just Sri Lanka, but many third world countries. Cities and towns that are old, and worn.

Thailand is cheap. It’s one of the reasons (there are several, which would warrant a separate post) why foreigners flock to this country every year. You can spend very little money in Thailand, and still live a comfortable life. It’s a dream come true, especially in today’s economy.

In the past week, I’ve had a few conversations with travellers about cost of living in Chiang Mai - as my current plan has me living in the city until the end of June. It’s a key part of travel research, and since guidebooks are generally published almost a year after the information is gathered, it can be hard to find up-to-date costs.