(El Nido, Palawan, Philippines)
I am British and have lived in Phuket for 6 years and Philippines the last 2 years. I am sorry to say that it is not only the North Americans who have the "Boss Hogg" attitude as detailed by one of your other commentators. I have seen British, German, Australian and US citizens in Phuket with this "Why don't they speak English?" attitude. Also, the over-tipping and overpaying has resulted in prices escalating for Thais and expats living there.
My wife and I are coming to look at living in the Cuenca area in October. We have been researching the housing market and been in contact with many agents. You can see the proliferation of large houses being built all over Ecuador with Americans in mind, 4 & 5 bedroom houses full of all the "necessities" of life for them and at silly prices (for Ecuador). Also many Gated Communities!
We are hoping to find a piece of land that we can build a small casita on, with enough room to grow our own fruit/veg and live a quiet life, at the same time integrating with the local people. I am a firm believer in at least trying to speak the language of wherever I may be, even if sometimes I make a fool of myself.
I remember my early days in Phuket when meeting with the my builders and saying that I thought that the tiles selected were "aroy mak." They all fell about laughing. I had said that they were very tasty instead of very good, "dee mak," but after that I had a great rapport with them and they helped me with my Thai. Be prepared to laugh at yourself and try to integrate.
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