Friday, January 17, 2014


I'm happy to report I now possess (hopefully valid) travel visas for Cambodia and Vietnam.  I've been reading reports of e-visas not working upon arrival at Phnom Penh airport. 

Don't really want to be in line with the other 200+ people on my flight dealing with it at 11 pm at night after travelling for 30 hours...Will be bringing an extra passport photo just in case. 

Yes, you'll read it can be quite quick but when you consider the volume of people, it might not be (I checked how many flights are regularly scheduled to land in and around that time).  I won't have any checked luggage as usual so I want to move and get to my hotel asap.  So the extra dollars for the e-visa will be worth it if it all works according to plan... ha ha, famous last words...

While I've been putting full time job hours preparing for my next trips, getting my 2nd shot for Japanese Encephalitis, scrambling to change hotels (just found out that one of the ones I am booked at allows sex tourism...)  regular life stuff continues on whether I take notice or not.  I'm grateful D is patient with me while I go through these heavy research cycles.

He sent me a spreadsheet documenting year to year changes in our fixed cost of living expenses and I finally took a look at it because I needed a break from hunting down adequate travel insurance and trying to learn Khmer!

2010: $12923
2011: $13689
2012: $13977
2013: $14105

The above totals reflects the sum of:
  • Main house (hydro, water, heat, phone & Internet, property tax, insurance, car insurance)
  • Cottage (hydro, highway tolls, heat, water heater rental, property tax)
  • Ski Condo (Strata -- Covers all utilities, Internet, property tax, cable -- No longer, insurance)

If I were to use 2013 as the ratio example of  House (2880 sq ft) : Cottage (700 sq ft) : Ski condo/studio (300 sq ft),

I would get this --  $9544 : $2050 : $2510.  Yup, our tiny spot out west costs more than up north, even before flights.

The only amount I would add to his spreadsheet to make it a more complete picture would be gasoline at about $250 a month and maybe food at about $400 a month (budget amount but we currently have over $400 sitting there with a full fridge and freezer).  But we would then be starting to border on all the variable costs in our lives. 

When you start adding things like minimum travel out west to use the ski condo, ski passes etc., I feel it ceases to be helpful as those wants can be eliminated.  That property isn't necessary for basic shelter reasons.  Same with the cottage.  Guess that is one reason why mortgage interest rates are higher for recreation properties because they know it will be the first to get dropped when there is a financial crisis. 

A change this year has been the dropping of our home landline.  I don't use it and we've kept it because D works from home and until recently, he hadn't been able to find a good enough alternative for internet without a landline. 

He decided to switch us to Ooma.  So far so good.  We now have a dry loop for internet as we opted to not go with cable internet.  I believe we pay maybe $3/month in fees.  We used to pay $35/month for a basic landline.  Now we have much faster internet for less with this company.

The upfront costs for the system was about $120 plus a new modem.  I like how you can log in online to check calls, messages etc. and not have to use Skype to call within Canada.  The pain in the behind parts have been coordinating the end of existing phone line, coordinating the service person's arrival after the fact, having some dead time without services (luckily we have the Turbo Hub) and changing phone numbers with companies that had your old number. 

What have I got to complain about?  D took care of everything.  Thank goodness as I have been a bit useless at home lately.

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