For those of you thinking of setting up a modern communications system, here are some of the options you have for staying in touch with the goings on back home and for keeping connected.
Go to any shopping mall and you will find dozens of cell phone shops. Simply buy a phone and then buy a card with minutes.
If you occasionally need a TV fix then you have the option of satellite or cable TV. Most services will have movie channels, as well as CNN, BBC, CNBC, and ESPN along with all the Thai TV stations, Thai and farang soap operas.
You can go to an internet café paying anywhere from 10 baht an hour up depending on the connection speed.
My favourite Internet sites for keeping connected:
BBC World Service www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news
Listening to the BBC on short wave is quite passé.
National Public Radio www.npr.org
Downloads (torrents) www.yourbittorrent.com/, www.newtorrents.info, et. al.
Free internet calls to other Skype users (with webcam access), free 1-800 calls, inexpensive calls to and from regular phones.
Stock Market quotes www.finance.yahoo.com
Nowadays I try not to look too often.
Also, most of your favourite radio stations from back home will have their own sites with streaming audio.
Sites for helping to adjust to living in Thailand
Women Learning Thai… and some men too ;-) www.womenlearnthai.com/
Thai-English Dictionary and language site www.thai-language.com
For further information about retiring to Thailand check out Hugh's site www.retire2thailand.com
Hugh's advice for the month: Many TV shows can be viewed on their websites on the internet. But there are restrictions on viewing and downloading them from out of country. Solution? See 'Downloads' above.