In Cairo, expatriates typically use a driver rather than relying on public transportation options. During my August survey I found that, even though taxis have meters, drivers are frustratingly unwilling to use them when driving expats.
Language barriers are common on survey, but each year technology makes it easier to get around and collect cost of living survey information. While in Bratislava during my recent survey, I arrived at a transport ticket counter to find that none of the staff were able to speak English, but this wasn’t as much of an inconvenience as it would have been a few years ago.
I recently surveyed Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, a city in the far east Russia, for the third time. Given the city’s size, it is easy to notice any changes. Sakhalin Island is developing in accordance with the government’s plan to promote tourism, which would also increase recreation options for expatriates.
Oil was discovered offshore Guyana nearly five years ago, but the country has taken a fairly measured approach to development, bringing in consultants to ensure that the oil industry (and the country’s future economy) is stable. The first extraction project, Liza Phase I, is on schedule to begin production of 120,000 barrels of oil per day starting in Q1 2020. The rate of incoming workers is picking up speed and demand has risen quickly not only for rentals properties, but also goods and services.
Since the 2015 discovery of vast oil deposits two hundred kilometers off Guyana’s coastline, the country has become one of the hottest oil and gas locations in the world. The capital city of Georgetown is now a center of activity as exploration, planning, and infrastructure development progress.
Over my fifteen years of cost of living surveys, I’ve traveled by taxi, subway, commuter rail, and ferry to collect data. Once, while pricing a supermarket in China, I noticed bicycles were under 140 CYN (20 USD). Tired of crawling through traffic in taxis, I bought a bike and completed the survey riding around the city. I really enjoyed the freedom a biking survey provided but assumed it was an isolated event.
Barcelona has 1.6 million residents and an annual influx of 30 million temporary residents. This excessive number of tourists has brought instability to the city’s housing market as many long-term rentals have turned into short-term furnished units to cater to demand.
East Timor, or Timor-Leste as it is known in one of its official languages, Portuguese, is a small country in Southeast Asia just north of Australia across the Timor Sea. It is one of the world’s youngest nations and still feels relatively undeveloped. The main expatriate population comes from embassies, NGOs, aid organizations, and banks.
As a resident of Hong Kong, I’m used to seeing the supremely fast-paced development of a modern city: new skyscrapers, high-speed train stations, subway lines, road tunnels, highways, stores, restaurants, and even a 55-kilometer-long bridge were built in the short time that I’ve lived there.