Sunday, September 28, 2008

Save your coins!

Another wash day in our little apartment, but this time we rigged the bathroom to be more entertainment-oriented (it takes awhile to handwash and rinse all of our clothing). You know how, at home, the washing machines tend to mysteriously "eat" socks? Well, somehow, when we've handwashed on our travels, our socks seem to have multiplied! Makes you wonder...

Each country has its own little ideosynchracies concerning money, and a prevalent one in Buenos Aires is the shortage of coins. Take last week when we tried to come home from Koreatown. We had forgotten our spare change, and the buses will not take bills at all. No problem, right? I just went into a store and tried to change a bill. "No hay monedas!" (We don't have coins) said the storekeeper strictly.

Odd, I thought, but went to another little convenience store. "No hay monedas!"
And a bakery... "No hay monedas!"

It's not like I had a huge bill. I had a 2 peso note (60 cents) and simply needed it in coins. So, I decided to give in and went to a supermarket where I attempted to buy some cookies that I didn't really want, just to get change. The storegirl rang it up, but when I tried to pay, she refused to give me change because she said she didn't have any. It was true (I looked in her drawer). It was beginning to get ridiculous because we were a good eight miles from home and were lugging around a heavy bucket of kim-chi.

FINALLY, I begged and begged an overpriced gas station lady and she cracked down and gave me change after I bought some crackers (where she got it from, I don't know... I was beginning to believe the great Coin Rapture had just taken place).

The highlight of our past few days was our recent shoe shopping trip. Tango dancing, as with certain other dances, requires special shoes, especially for the girl. We visited a wide range of shops until we each found the perfect pair for us (which just happened to match). Joo special ordered hers by combining two pairs of shoes (she liked the design of one and the fit of another) and here are mine...

to make the whole experience even more perfect, we received a string of translation jobs within the next two days that allowed us to earn back everything we had spent on the shoes. The budget is going quite well, but it's always a bit uncertain since we have no control over how many jobs get sent to us. South America tends to average about $25 a day per person at the level we've traveled ($30-$35 on travel days and $15-$20 on stationary days).

A bit more than the $15 average I had through Asia a few years ago, but that's also partly because of the dollar's crash. So, there are some days when we're in a translation drought and I momentarily desire to be in a salaried job, but then I start to think of what Life is all about and I'm so glad that I have this bundle of free time to spend with Joo (and ironically, more time with family and friends too thanks to blogs, email, skype, etc.). After all, we have the next 30 years of our lives to worry about salaries, a home, etc.

It's been a wonderful honeymoon so far and the recent dancing lessons have injected it with even more passion and excitement :)


  1. Brother, your approach to life is a good reminder to me that life is about way more than a salary, home, etc. Thank you!! Love the new shoes, and love the hair growing on your face :). HS

  2. Several blogs back you said you would befriend your have community,so I quess you got a big community. do you have a line to hang the clothes or do you use the drape method. mom

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