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2011-03-17 - 12:27 p.m.

Well, I've not been here for about 10 days maybe. I've been busy meeting new people in this area and I did spend 3 horrid days in Las Vegas. I had to make the Vegas trip to clear a dui warrent my middle daughter had. I would never go to Vegas by choice as I do not drink or smoke or do any drugs, and those 3 things are everywhere, and hard to escape while in the city.

It's wonderful for people that know how to have a good time and enjoy all the city has to offer, but the city offers nothing for me. I used to go just to see the floorshows, but they have priced the ones I'd be interested in out of my retirement budgert.

Anyhow, I wanted to say a few words about readjustment in my country of birth and the primary differences I've noticed in America from say my favorite countries in Asia.

Firstly, sad as it may be, I really struggle to be able to afford to live on my Army retirement pay and Social Security checks here in California but I only have the support System I need at age 74 here or in Lafayette Indiana, where most of my family has lived the majority of their lives. Now I hate everything about winter, and would never consider living north of I-10, so that leaves me with San Diego or Orange Counties, right here in California.

Living here in retirement (and those of you who are not yet retired and have never tried budgeting living on "half pay" will have experienced, may want to pay close attention and plan ahead.

Living here, i find myself for the first time in my adult life, living month to month, paying more in taxes than ever B4, paying more for rent, utilities, food, any form of recreation, movies, well just anything than I ever paid in Thailand or the Philippines, my two top choices to recommend to anyone who wants to live "higher on the hog" than they can in America.

And in modern day Manila or Bangkok you can find everything that you have in America excepting your friends and family. You must take that into consideration of course, but making friends has always been easy for me in any of the 39 countries I've worked in or lived in or vacationed in.

In Thailand for instance, by purchasing True Platinum satellite TV, for about $70/month you get about 107 channels, and the price includes channels showing every single NFL game, 2-3 NBA games a week and daily MLB games. Also get the UFC cage fights (delayed) FREE. Oh, all the major American sports are live, and shown on repeats as well.

There are over 200 restaurants serving American cuisine in Bangkok, most owned or managed by Americans. Movies are shown the same week they open in America and some weeks B4 they open in america. The theators are mostly new, very much cleaner than any I've viewed movies in here in So. Cal since I've returned, and for half to 2/3rds the price. You can even drink beer in the major mall theators in Bangkok. I don't drink but my friends who do appreciate this option. Also you don't have to take a bank loan to get a large popcorn or candy bar.

All in all, I would prefer living overseas, but I live here because I am 74 and want to spend whatever years are left nearby my 4 kids, 2 grandkids and great grandson.

I do find I like Oceanside, here in North San Diego County much better than I ever did Orange County. My apartment here is less than 10 minutes drive from the main gate of Camp Pendleton, so I have access to the commissary, PX, legal office, and all other services on base there as I am Retired US Army.

Well, once again I rest my pen,

Ken Bower, Veteran Human Being


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