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Kantine 101, Part II
Old 07-23-2007, 01:52 AM   #1
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Kantine 101, Part II

Last night things were getting interesting at Kanteen 101...

Unsuspecting and with out agenda, Nick pulled up a plastic chair and joined the Canteen 101 Debating Society. Nigel, the resident english language expert smelled blood and pounced. Extending his hand Nigel said “ I won’t hold it against you that you are from Australia mate, but why can’t you Aussies speak properly?” Nick didn’t even reach for his knife. Instead he calmly replied “And you don’t either mate. If I were to speak to 100 UK citizens, I doubt that I could comprehend the diction of 50 of your so called proper English speakers.” Nigel never batted an eye, redirected his attention to the Rugby match on TV and opined that the All Blacks were certain to win and that he was supporting them full stop. Waves of contentment flooded over me and I ordered another San Miguel Light…

The Society gang usually sets up a few tables outside the Canteen and the conversations are duly drowned out by the de-muffled trikes and jeepneys. One member was feeling a bit weak and consulted his physician. After a few tests, his doc diagnosed him with having carbon monoxide poisoning. We may have to start wearing gas masks down there; I wonder how that will impact the San Miguel beer sales.

Well I have to come clean and admit that I am just a simple minded country boy and that the world of high finance totally baffles me. Some folks have explained to me that US dollar exchange rates really don’t matter and that I, as an expat, am living in the lap of luxury. Sorta like the Thais, in the vein of “don’t thinking too much.”

I try to limit my thoughts as much as possible, but Spike, my buddy in Pattaya, Thailand emailed me with some unprintable adjectives, but long story short, Spike was getting less and leas baht at the ATM machine. Ole Spike set a $500 USD limit on his daily ATM withdrawals. Usually Spike could easily withdraw 20,000 Thai baht (most Thai ATM machines dispense a maximum of 20 bank notes.) Well, ole Spike could no longer withdraw his customary 20k; instead a maximum of 19k was available. Then it was 18k, then 17k… Now greater minds than mine have expounded that trade deficits and US government debt does not really matter -and is actually a good thing- but ole Spike remains unconvinced.

Now back at the canteen, Hans, of Teutonic extraction explained that “Di Americans screwed us for 50 years ja, day fixing di Deutch Mark at 4.25 ( I thought it was 4:1, but Hans had the floor) DM to one US Dollar. Dem Americans eat di big meal for only one dollar ja! Dey laafing sure! Well, this international finance is all over my head, but probably since the Euro has strengthened and the purchasing power of Han’s euro denominated pension has increased, his increased financial wherewithal has actually helped the locals.

But a strong dollar really f*&%s the local populace over. You know, they have to go to work and ship all those relatively cheap goods to the US of A. I mean, come on, how can a fella enjoy life if he is always slaving away at the factory?

I’m gonna call ole Spike and get his thoughts on this phenomenon. For some reason I think Spike’s opinion may be unprintable.

I’ve thought it over and maybe Hans has a point. Lookie here, when those evil Americans fixed the exchange rate at 4 Dm per USD, German exports flooded into the US market. Heck, poor old Hans had to work his fanny off and the company only allowed him about five or six weeks of vacation annually, hardly enough time to really rest from his labors. And, unfortunately, my own family directly contributed to this mistreatment; in 1967 my Dad bought a Volkswagen mini van. The old man didn’t much give a rat’s a@@ about what other people thought, but my uncle Lefty didn’t like it much, especially after he lost his job at General Motors.

The attached photo is of the delicious meal I purchased for $3.67 at the canteen. Hans would probably not approve, but in my advanced age, I’m becoming a lot like my old man with respect to other people’s opinions.




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Old 08-18-2007, 09:30 AM   #2
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Hey Lance,

Just in case you're busy, when you get time, I'm looking forward to the next installment of your visit to the Philippines. I'm sure a few others are as well.

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Old 08-24-2007, 05:02 AM   #3
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Thanks FE, but I'm back in Thailand now. Stay tuned for some Pattaya missives

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