No Worries We Are Happy

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Overheard at the Beach

Sometimes we are too easily sucked into conversations about our new homes and our new lives so it was enlightening to write about what we overheard at the beach the other day. We were sitting in a lovely oceanfront cafe, sipping on Mango smoothies with a cool breeze ruffling our hair and the steady rhythm of the waves providing a soothing background thereby setting the tone for the afternoon.

A recent acquaintance and his wife, Jeff and Rachel, were chatting when I heard Rachel make one of the most profound statements about her new life and it really hit home. To paraphrase she told Jeff that she had spoken with her sister who lives somewhere in the United States and that she could not believe the issues the folks back there were dealing with from divisive politics to politicization of pro football, hurricane relief to a whacko with Nukes in North Korea. Healthcare that is not working and no one can agree on anything.

Jeff replied, well we cannot agree on much here either. Rachel replied Jeff, what are you talking about? Jeff had the reply of the year so far Happy Hour, which band plays the best dance music,

Dancing is happiness
Where should we dance tomorrow? Here seems pretty good!
where is the best place to buy strawberries, or sweet corn. Which scuba diving or deep sea fishing outfit is the best, people argue about those things all of the time.

My mango smoothie went flying across the room as I could not hold it back while laughing so hard. Needless to say Jeff and Rachel are now great friends as they could actually see why we retired here, no need to worry, be happy

 





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People Who Complain All of the Time

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Tropical paradise
Negative is not a tropical word

A challenge to living in the tropics is people who complain all of the time

Have you met Neil or Nancy Negative? If you haven’t yet you most likely will because even if their names are not Neil nor Nancy, you will surely recognize them as members of the Expatriate group of people who complain all of the time.

This syndrome is not unique to tropical retirees it seems to affect many people who move to a new place because we humans tend to miss the things we enjoyed where we lived before and forget about the things that annoyed us but to which we had grown accustomed to. This seems to be based on the general outlook towards life as individuals than where we moved from or to.

Is this all bad you ask? No it is not, many of the negative points of view are based on difficulties Neil and Nancy have encountered in their new home, and you might encounter them as well. Often this is caused be poor research by Neil and Nancy, but at times it is just based on unforeseeable things that were a less than pleasant surprise. You should take the time, not a lot, but take some time to learn from Neil and Nancy.

Probably the best thing to remember is the advice given my Jimmy Buffet

We chose to move to a new culture in a new country, and we choose to live here. Neil and Nancy are aggravated because the people who live here do not speak English, and in their opinion they should, they forget they moved here. The pace of service drives Neil crazy while Nancy does not know why she cannot find her preferred cosmetics. It is very easy to forget that there are other solutions and other products, adapting is what is important.

Neil and Nancy are not to be ignored, they’re having trouble adapting, but, the important thing is to not let the negative perspective cloud you vision. Enjoy your new life and learn to love the local culture, cuisine and activities because these are surely different from what you are accustomed to.

Searching for books to read in your native language

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Have you Asked Where can I Find Free Online Books to Read?

One of the more common questions posted in expatriate groups is where can they find reading material or libraries with reading material

Reading a book
Reading before the 21st century

in the expats’ native language. We have found there are several Expat run English libraries in the country we live in, but probably a better option is to seek out and find free online books to read.

There are many sites to either download books or to read them online and with a regular internet connection this is a good way to find much of what you want to read. Probably the best part of these services is books that are no longer under copyright protection are available in many locations.

Many of us are satisfied with the huge free libraries available online, and reading the selections on our computer or tablet, yet many of us also find two things lacking in this experience. First, this will never replace the demand for current periodicals such as magazines and newspapers in digital form. Second, the availability of an actual book from today’s best seller list. Fortunately, several companies have come up with digital solutions that go a long way towards resolving these two issues. Welcome to the world of E Readers

What is an E Reader?

Kindle E Reader
Reading in the 21st century

If you are among those of us who are asking or have asked what is an E Reader, we will demonstrate how these are an indispensable item to have to receive current reading in your native language almost anywhere in the world. Like most electronic products E Readers were offered by many companies beginning with the Rocket ebook marketed by Barnes and Noble in 1997. Unlike many tablets the E Readers use a screen display aptly named electronic paper enhancing the readability of the display.

The market has evolved significantly beginning with the introduction of the Kindle E Reader in 1998 by Amazon. Currently while many E Readers have come and gone, there are three leading marketers of E Readers. Amazon, Kobo and Barnes and Noble are the three major players in the E Reader market and each has advantages and disadvantages when compared to the other two so it is best to decide what features are important to you when narrowing your selection.

The current market leader is the Amazon Kindle line of products and you can read our review of their four Kindle products by clicking here. In quick summary the major advantages of the Kindle products are there is a model for each of four different price point customers ranging from those seeking a reader for under $100 to those willing to pay significantly more for many more features which are detailed in our review linked above.

In addition to many models with many features such as screen lighting to enable reading in the dark without any additional lighting, the Kindle has access to the Amazon library of books. magazines and newspapers which is, in our opinion, the most extensive, best organized library out there today. Amazon offers a number of inexpensive subscription services including Amazon Prime which we review here and the unlimited reading subsciption which we review here.

Another great advantage of the Kindles is all but the entry level model can be purchased with access to cell phone networks that allow you to access your reading anywhere you can find cell phone connectivity, and Amazon pays the Cell network charges. The major thing the Kindle products lack is the ability to use the common open format E Reader Epub files.

Kobo E Readers are the generic E Readers that do a surprisingly good job accessing many digital publications. Unlike the Kindle, Kobo readers have access to Epub formatted digital publications and they also do not force the user to read advertising like some Kindle products do.

Kobo have high screen resolution making them easy to read in the daylight, a large amount of onboard storage and months of battery life. The area where Kobo comes up short is the digital library it accesses is not as well organized nor as easy to navigate as the Kindle library is.

As mentioned above Barnes and Noble introduced the E Reader by marketing the Rocket ebook. Today Barnes and Noble remains an active player in the E Reader market with its Nook Glowlight Plus model which is an inexpensive yet capable E Reader. The first advantage of the Nook Glowlight Plus is it is waterproof at and inexpensive price point.

Second like the Kindle Paperwhite which we review here the Nook Glowlight Plus it has a touchscreen display and a screen lighting ststem that allows you to read in the dary without additional lighting.

The biggest disadvantage the Nook Glowlight Plus has versus the Kindle family of products is the same as Kobos main disadvantage. The library is not as complete, organized nor easy to access as Amazon’s Kindle library.

In summary, the best way to find contemporary reading in your native language in a country that speaks a different language than you do is by using an E Reader. While we have presented three of the most popular brands, in our opinion based on access, features and ease of use the Amazon Kindle family of products is the handsdown winner. Enjoy your Reading!

 





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Our Review of Amazon Prime Membership

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Are you wondering if Amazon Prime is for you?

We have been Amazon Prime members for years and the membership brings many benefits, but for those of us who live in the Tropics the most important benefits are access to content, movies, TV shows, music and reading materials. There are many other benefits some of which may be of great importance to you. To read our review and a close to complete recap of the current benefits Prime membership includes read our complete review by clicking here.

Our Review of Kindle E Readers from Amazon

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Finally, You can Read in Your Language in Your New Home

We were early adopters of the first edition of the Kindle E Reader and have used the basic model for many years until recently when we upgraded to one of their more advanced models.  Both my wife and I are avid readers and we would be lost in our new tropical home without our Kindles.

Amazon has done a masterful job of placing a product at 4 different price points meaning there is a Kindle E Reader for every reader from the budget conscious to the luxury seeker.  You can read our review of the Kindle family of E Readers here, if you read you will need an E Reader.

Our Review of Kindle Unlimited Reading Subscription Service

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Do you miss reading materials in your new home?

We recently reviewed a wonderful way to receive reading materials written  in your native language in your new tropical home.  In our expat groups we constantly hear folks asking where they can find books written in English.

Sadly, there are not many local outlets but, Amazon has stepped in with their Kindle Unlimited Reading Subscription Service.  We have used it and written a review of it which you can read here.

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Tropical Rain Forests

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Tropical Rainforest Facts

Before beginning your search for your ideal home in the tropics becoming aware of tropical rainforest facts is a critical item to understand because if it is green, if it is tropical it is most likely part of a rain forest.

Tropical rainforests have annual rainfall between 250 cm and 450 cm (98 to 177 inches) and the precipitation is frequently seasonal. It is estimated that 50% of the world’s flora and fauna live in the tropical rainforests which explains the beautiful lush green forests that abound.

Tropical rainforest map
As you can see if you are planning to move to the tropics you are likely to encounter rain

One critical thing to recognize is you will encounter months and months of rain and almost every day.

Finding fun things to do when you’re bored.

Clearly with so much time in wet soggy weather it is important to find fun things to do when you are bored. Most likely the best thing to do is to find a group of like minded friends and go out for a coffee and a snack. Dinners are also popular and can be enjoyed as a couple or with a large group of friends. Caution try to avoid the ever present complainer, they exist everywhere and serve no purpose other than to bring you down. The other thing to try and avoid is attending happy hours EVERY day of the week.

Indoor hobbies are a great way to pass the rainy system be it painting, playing cards, playing backgammon, checkers and or chess are all suitable ways to enjoy yourself indoors. Do you play music? Can you sing and dance? These are great ways to make friends and to spend your time alone.

If you are like my wife she prefers to talk talk talk and this used to be costly endeavour, but using Voice Over IP Internet telephone service has drastically reduced this expense. You can read a more thorough review of VOIP telephone systems here. In addition my wife likes to shop even if it is only window shopping. Since retiring in the tropics she has discovered online shopping and particularly enjoys comparisons shopping which she does at Amazon, Walmart and Ebay here. Truth be told I enjoy that too, just less than she does.

While my wife is a talker, I prefer TV, movies and music from my home country. The best solution to these services is android micro computers with the Kodi application available at the Google play You can read our review of the best of these products here.

In addition to android set top streaming TV micro computers Amazon has its own entries in the streaming media market known as Fire TV. Fire TV currently has two base hardware options, the Fire TV set top box is reviewed here. In summary it is competitive with other android TV set top boxes in both price and performance. The less expensive less powerful Amazon Fire TV Stick which we review here is both more portable and less expensive than the Android or the Fire TV set top boxes.

Our Review of the Amazon Fire TV Set Top Box

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The Amazon Fire TV Set Top Box

We recently received the Amazon Fire TV Set Top Box and frankly we were blown away by both the video quality and the smooth quality of the streaming. To read our in depth review of the product you can do so here. Suffice it say we are impressed.

 





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Our Review of the Amazon Fire TV Stick

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Review of the Amazon Fire TV Stick

We recently reviewed the Amazon TV Fire Stick after our new one arrived at our home. You can read the full review here, but suffice it to say for what it does, it does it very well. Read more about it to get the full picture.

 





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Hot Peppers

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Are Hot Peppers the Perfect Food for the Hot Tropical Climate?

One of the more astounding things about living in the tropics is the absolute love for hot spicy food. The varieties of hot peppers are numerous and can be found in many forms from the Americas, to North Africa,

These peppers have a bite
Red Hot Chili Peppers

from the Mideast to Southeast Asia. While the Spaniards spread a number of hot pepper varieties found in the Americas across the world, local varieties have been used by the indigenous cultures of many regions.

There are ways hot peppers help make tropical life easier.

First, the spicy burn caused by chili peppers makes the body sweat which cools it off and that is the most evident practical way hot peppers make tropical life easier. That combined with their varied rich flavors and levels of heat are most likely the reasons they are so widely consumed. In addition to these observable effects there are a number of health related reasons to eat these bites of fire.

Health benefits and medical uses of peppers

  • Large concentrations flavonoids including Alpha Carotene, Beta Carotene, Lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • High concentration of antioxidants and other vitamins A, B1, B6, C and E
  • A good source of several minerals including Potassium, Iron, Manganese, Copper and Magnesium
  • The alkaloid chemical Capsaicin that is the key ingredient that gives the peppers their heat and much of their flavor has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and lower arterial inflammation.
  • Capsaicin also provides the analgesic heat in many creams and rubs used to treat sore muscles and arthritis.
  • Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in hot pepper defensive spray used to deter attackers.

Suffice it to say hot peppers have practical, medicinal, and excellent nutritional benefits.

Red Hot Peppers, Where to Find them or How to Avoid them

Asian Hot Sauce
Southeast Asia Hot Sauce

Red hot peppers are found in many foods but the following list contains the principal uses we have encountered.

  • Salsas and Sauces
  • Pickled vegetables and hot oils
  • Red pepper powder and flakes
  • Curries
  • Prepared foods
  • Soups, stews and marinates
  • Fresh produce
  • Dried peppers

In Latin America hot chili peppers are called picante, in Asia hot oil is called Fire Oil and the sauces go by many names including Badjak and hot garlic sauce, in North Africa the sauces are called piri piri or harissa, in the Middle East it is called Zhug, but whatever it is called the fundamental ingredient is hot peppers. If you plan to retire in the tropics or just visit be prepared to develop your heat tolerance, both to the weather and to the food.

 





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