Andy I think YOU and other travelers or those choose to LIVE BELOW THEIR MEANS are qualified to teach the indebted majority of Americans brainwashed by marketing geniuouses "Lifestyle Training". And in recent recessionary years and I predict this coming decade the wave of consumer spending will slow down those with the most savings rather than "toys" and "bling bling" luxury items and trips will be more respected and envied. But who knows, maybe I've been outside the States too many years and have lost touch with American "culture" altogether.
Alida, Small World! We have a South African white couple staying with us here on the beach on Boracay Island for the last 2+ months who are also non-conventional, the guy with a Mohawk and his girlfriend with a shaved head. Never give up on your dreams of adventure, world travel or seeking an alternative lifestyle. We with similar aspirations are a small particular breed of people who have more in common with like minded complete strangers than our family and classmates. yesterday I walked to the southern end of the island to visit a couple of friends with incredible stories from the past. I really enjoyed the 8 hours straight of animated conversation with each of us listening closely to each other then adding one of our own adventures. Reminded me of the independent film "My dinner with Andre" ( 1981 ).
Years ago when I lived in Pana, was staying only 100 meters from the "Super" at Onion Corner, most every day for late lunch or 'dinner' bread, ham cheese, mustard. Etc. I grew up that way, eating at home, from Guatemala City "Paiz" Supermarket, brought non perishables, tuna, canned veggies, V8 juice, instant coffee, had a tiny one burner hotplate in the room, if I wanted a soda at night the tiendas were open to 11PM. I think you are fairly "normal" long term traveler, when I lived in Denmark/Sweden very expensive to eat out, same schtick (thing) supermarket to room, went out to eat only socially or for business. I really do not enjoy people waiting on me, if I make a "mess" will clean up after.
I enjoy eating 'sopas' in the mercados as well, locals laugh with me and don't stare at me like some travelers in 'upscale' restaurants.
When I lived in apartments in Guate City, Antigua and Xela of course I cooked at home on hotplate most of time.
Here in San Salvador buy enormous lunches at the "comedors" selling lunch 1130am - 2pm eat a bit of lunch and save rest for dinner. $3.00 often buys more than I can eat in one sitting. I live here. Coffee in the 'upscale' places in the Malls in San Salvador $1.00 cup, at a comedor 25-30 cents. I am too busy during the course of the day to hang around Malls and Restaurants and rarely go out at night alone, so life is good and cheap and I am content. Enjoy your sandwiches, when in city supermarkets buy the ziplock Sandwich bags for bus travel. Saludos.
To Asia Bill, most young travellers, ex pats, volunteers, what not have lost the rare art of conversation..the oral tradition..most people I have met "touring" do not even have the patience to listen to locals for more than a few minutes.
I first traveled and ex patted at length in the 1980s, we all, locals, ex pats, semi ex pat snowbirds adventure travelers, archeoligists, backpackers, even teh charismatic grifters and grafters, were relationship oriented. People told stories and jokes. We had a sense of humor. I have actually excused myself and walked away from some recent "conversations" where the other other person was on cellphone half of the time.
I joined a "Hospitality Exchange" in 1979, mostly we wrote letters!!!!!