September 29, 2007

Thoughts From Overseas

While having traveled a bit in the past, I was never really anywhere outside the US long enough to be immersed in other cultures or appreciate economic differences.

  • The importance of family seems to be stressed much more over here than it is in the US. Although we got here less than a month ago, a local blogger already mentioned my wife. I am trying to bug Gio into making some blog posts here too, but she also works on lots of other websites.

  • Lots of meat on a stick here. Which is perfect. :)

  • Food for the Gods is aptly named.

  • Boba drinks have fruit and multiple boba types in them. Again, surprisingly good. Quickly offers a sweet milk tea boba. I would really love a 24 hour boba delivery service. If you know of one please let me know.

  • The warmer climate leads to weight loss. I think I have lost about 15 pounds since coming over here without doing much working out.

  • Badminton is big over here. I love virtually all racket based sports, and am hoping I can get my mom to play when she comes over.

  • I have yet to play any tennis and am afraid that when my step dad comes over he may beat me again, effectively cutting my ego, self worth, and self image in half. It took years to regain composure after the last time he beat me.

  • Malls are super-saturated in Manila. Sometimes at 5pm if you buy something store workers will tell you that you were the first customer all day long. Some malls have a food court with about 60 different vendors. And more malls are being built.

  • A few of the malls have pirated media download centers, bootleg brands, and security guards to check you at the door.

  • Arcades are a functional business model over here. In the US most arcades are not well maintained unless they are drinking arcades for adults.

  • Labor is so cheap here. Even with current gas prices a half hour cab ride can run $2. Even McDonalds has a 24 hour delivery service. But you have to spend the $4 minimum to qualify for delivery service.

  • Some of the cabbies try to shake me down for more money because I am white, especially if I am leaving a local hotel because they think I am a tourist. One tried to charge us over 3 times the normal price.

  • There seems to be more micro parasitic economics over here than in the US. The cabbie that tries to shake you down for double price, cops that try to pull you over just to get a few books off the record, etc. In the US there is much more macro parasitic economic behavior. For example, MBNA, a credit card company, rewrote the US bankruptcy laws to favor themselves and screw consumers. For the average person macro parasites are probably far worse than micro parasites.

  • The dollar has been going down brutally. Yesterday the local paper put the Canadian Dollar above the US Dollar, and online there was an article about gold being at a 28 year high. When we first got here the exchange rate was like 46.6 pesos to a dollar. Its down to 45 to 1 in a couple weeks, which is a noticeable difference if you are paying for a wedding at the best hotel in the country.

  • I really understood the DVD zoning after seeing new DVDs on sale for about $4 here. And we saw a movie at a great theater in the Mall of Asia. Together our tickets cost less than $5.

  • Traffic is really thick in Manila. Each week day 20% of the cars are not supposed to drive based on their license plate numbers. I suppose there is an arbitrage opportunity in there somewhere. :) In spite of more traffic there are far fewer wrecks over here than in the US.

  • And in other news... Cops, soldiers clash with MILF

Posted at September 29, 2007 2:47 AM

Mmm, I miss meat on a stick. Lamb is my favorite!

I hope, despite the quite annoying observations you had here, you still enjoyed being in Manila. If you give a chance to travel around the Philippines, you can get luckier (and no cab drivers to overcharge you) :)

Well what can I say, welcome to the Philippines! :)

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