Elaborate Cremation Ceremony Celebrates The Life Of A Thai Monk

Eat, Pray, Blast Off: Protocol Of A Thai Monk’s Funeral

July 1, 2014, Chiang Mai, Thailand: Attending a Thai funeral is a special experience. From what to wear to when it’s appropriate to take photos, it’s helpful to have a friend to guide you through.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"Grandma Vicki, we must wear white clothes to the monk's cremation. OK?"

Well, no.

We were in Phayao, Thailand, visiting a dear Thai friend who'd invited me to attend a cremation ceremony for a local head monk. And, now we were getting ready for the drive to a small wat (Buddhist monastery) near her ancestral village for the big event.

I'd been told about the cremation before traveling to Phayao and had packed black for the event: Thais wears black and/or white to funerals. But now I'm told "white only" for this one.

"Mai pen rai!" said my friend. (No problem, easy to fix.) We drove to a local superstore where I was thrilled to find an extra-extra-large white blouse to fit my Western-sized body. It was important to me to wear the right clothes to honor the monk, my friend's family, and her village. Suspecting I'd be the only Westerner there (as it turned out, I was), I wanted to dress like everyone else.

On the appointed day, we drove to the small, mountain monastery. The deceased monk had served six nearby villages for decades. Hundreds of villagers had arrived long before we did to attend the solemn goodbye. We had to park far from the site, behind farm trucks and motorcycles.

As we walked up the narrow road to the wat, a cacophony of Thai funeral music and the emcee's announcements over a loudspeaker assailed our ears. As we got to the entrance, I pulled out my camera to start taking photos.

"Not yet," my friend said. "First we must pay our respects to the monk."


Top Three Things To Eat In Ireland During The Summer

Staples Of The Irish Summer Diet

June 30, 2014, Waterford, Ireland: The Irish summer brings a new set of tastes and smells to the country. These top three should not be missed.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"I remember that summer in Dublin
And the Liffey as it stank like hell,
And the young people walking on Grafton Street
Everyone looking so well..."

"Summer In Dublin," a big hit for local band Bagatelle back in 1980, lives on as one of the classic sounds of Irish summer.

Having worked three years in the capital, I can attest that the River Liffey certainly has its off days during warmer spells. But it shouldn't be a deterrent to spending time in this country at the best time of the year and discovering Ireland's more attractive tastes and smells...

Once the sun shines in Ireland and temperatures reach higher than 70 degrees, the beloved potato is abandoned. Barbeques are dusted off, and the smell of smoking coals fills the air. Crisp green salad leaves, beets, and the inescapable coleslaw replace our boiled veg. Punters, who religiously drink Guinness through the hard winter, temporarily turn to crisper beer or cider.

It's a time to be celebrated. And, if you're in Ireland during the summer months, here are the top three tastes you shouldn't miss...


This Summer, Istanbul…Macedonia…And Beyond

This Summer, Istanbul…Macedonia…And Beyond

June 29, 2014, Panama City, Panama: The Irish summer brings a new set of tastes and smells to the country. These top three should not be missed.

Also This Week: More Than Just A Plan B... Prices In This Coastal Paradise Are Deep In Bargain Territory... Europe's Most Affordable Coastal Retirement Haven... Microbrew Uprising—Beer Is A Growth Industry In This Central American Haven... 

Plus, From Resident Global Property Investing Expert Lief Simon:Earn Better Than 16% Per Annum From This Turn-Key Agri-Play...

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Lief and my travel schedule is dictated by our son Jackson's school calendar. Jack had his final exam of the year Friday afternoon...which means this weekend we take off for two months on the road.

First stop, Istanbul.

Lief and I traveled to this city for the first time during our honeymoon years ago. We returned for a quick visit last summer, when we decided this is a place we'd like to know better. In the 12 months since, Turkey and Istanbul have become higher-profile. "The biggest opportunity we've seen in the last 50 years"..."a white-hot real estate market exploding with profits"..."an investor's utopia"...etc., read marketing brochures.

Our focus, of course, will be real estate. We've planned meetings with the hope of trying to vet the current property scene in Istanbul. This market bottomed out mid-2009. Since then, some reports show that values have appreciated 75% and continue up. Right now, the average per-square-meter cost for an apartment in Istanbul's city center, according to the reconnaissance I've got, is about 5,000 Turkish lira (or US$2,300/US$2,400). That's not super cheap, but if it proves the reality for best-of-city locations, it's a bargain in Euro-terms. Lief and I will report back to confirm.


Mango Plantation Investment In Panama Offers 16%+ ...

Earn Better Than 16% Per Annum From This Turn-Key Agri-Play

June 27, 2014, Penonome, Panama: This mango plantation investment opportunity in Panama is great turn-key diversification promising a return of better than 16% per year.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

I've been telling you since February about an opportunity I've identified to invest in a mango plantation here in Panama. My team and I carried out due diligence on this investment for months in advance of my reporting on it initially, and my research team has been out to the plantation many times. However, finally, last weekend, I had a chance to go to see the operation firsthand myself. I was impressed.

The developer's original plan was to clear the first 100 hectares (of a total 750 hectares) for planting. However, sales have been brisker than expected, so they've taken advantage of having the necessary equipment on site and are clearing beyond 100 hectares. They expect to start putting trees in the ground in the next week or so. They have 8,000 trees ready for planting and another 4,000 being prepared offsite to follow. The nursery system has been designed to keep up with land clearance.

The most impressive thing I witnessed during the visit was the flight of the drone plane they are using to map the terrain before planting. The lead agronomist (and president of the company) wants to ensure optimal drainage, so he has his guys send up the drone at least once a week. The drone takes rapid-fire photos that the crew then review to monitor and manage the earthwork being done on the ground. It's a high-tech strategy for making sure the trees will get the right amount of water to produce optimum quantities and quality of mangos.


Craft Microbrew Industry In Costa Rica

Microbrew Uprising—Beer Is A Growth Industry In This Central American Haven

June 26, 2014, Uvita, Costa Rica: The craft microbrew industry, fueled largely by expat transplants and foreign retirees, is growing in Costa Rica.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

I just got back from a trip to my home in Michigan, where I spent 11 days packing up my girlfriend and my dogs for the full-time move to southern Costa Rica.

Mission accomplished.

In some of my downtime back home I hit a couple (OK, maybe it was a dozen) of the local microbreweries in Grand Rapids and Traverse City. Grand Rapids has been named Beer City USA the last two years running because of the number and quality of the microbreweries there.

My girlfriend Kristie and I love good beer. Normally in Central America you don't have a lot of options when it comes to beer. In Belize it is Beliken and Beliken only because the owners have a government-approved monopoly. Same goes for Tona in Nicaragua. Fledgling microbreweries in that country have been shut down at a total loss to the owners to dissuade any new upstarts.


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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


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