|Interesting to note... Seattle is now neck-'n-neck with NYC!|
Oh it's surely cheap for a Westerner to live in Asia, no doubt about it. But interestingly, after nearly six months here in Vietnam, I'm already beginning to wail about the price of electricity for my apartment (a breathtaking $30 last month even with stringent use of the air-con), and a se om motorbike taxi (40,000 dong each way to go to/fro my school - life-threatening near-misses, no extra charge!) ;)
My rent is less than half what I'd pay comparably in Seattle of course, and a delish lunch of "Bun Thit Nuong" at the market is but a single buck (20,000 dong), but still...
So I Googled for the "Cost of living" and found a very nifty site - Numbeo.com where you can compare the cost of living in relative dollars across most every corner of the globe. Comparing Ho Chi Minh City to Seattle for example, proved most dong-bolstering:
A liter of milk is slightly higher here in Saigon ($1.74 vs. $1.33 in Seattle) and gasoline's about the same (Seattle currently about $1.05 per liter vs. Saigon .96), but everything else is at least half- and often a third or a QUARTER of what things cost back in the States.
Indeed, comparing overall cost-of-living across the board, the only place cheaper to live than here in Vietnam is somewhere in BANGLADESH!
It's all relative of course, as the price of necessity goods (basic foodstuffs, shelter, fuel, etc.) must necessarily match up with local incomes. But for "rich" foreigners like myself (which of course with but a small pension is a joke back in the States), it just means we can either:
A. Live a bit more comfortable life-style abroad, or...
B. Choose to live somewhat like a local and save a bundle each month (to squander on airline tickets and travel to exotic places like Sumatra, Mongolia, etc. - YESSSSSSS!)
In short - no complaints here - clearly you can see on which side of those two choices my bread is buttered. ;)