Saturday, August 22, 2009

Have broom, will travel.

There is a distinct advantage in being Filipino when traveling, especially in Asia. White people and Japanese look ever so much richer, and this gives us one incredible benefit - we are less likely to be mugged!

It stands to reason that a mugger would go for the American naturally endowed with dollars rather than the Filipino who actually brings around instant noodles to save on food. Heck, a mugger probably can't even tell which one is the Filipino on the street of Southeast Asia.( I was mistaken for a Malaysian or Chinese when I was in India)But you know, a fellow Filipino can always spot another Filipino because we are the ones who are haggling hard, like we are squeezing water from a rock.

Living in and around Manila gives one an innate craftiness that is very useful when shopping in a foreign land. You see, we are armed with the following truths:1) of course souvenirs are overpriced;2) of course the sellers will tell you anything to make a sale;3) of course those aren't real antiques. Anybody who believe they've got an unbelievable bargain too good to be true grew up in Neverland.

A Filipino haggling is a thing of beauty. Watch closely as the Filipino asks for the price, then inspects with much skepticism the merchandise, then gives a counter-offer (usually around half the original). Observe how the merchant acts insulted and gives a slightly lower amount nowhere near the Filipino desired purchase price, then watch as the Filipino pretend to walk away as the now-frantic merchant agrees to the Filipino stingy offer.

The level of expertise though of the Third-worlder ends about there. Sometimes our lack of exposure to wealth can be a drawback.Take deposit boxes, something I have absolutely no need for and therefore feel strange when I come into contact with one. It's because I don't actually have anything worth putting in a safety box. I don't have much cash nor jewelry. But I do have my passport and ticket and no money to replace them if they got lost. The thought of using the safe was just for fun.

But I know there are people out there who seriously need a safe. On the immigration card, there is a box that needs to be ticked if one had more that $10,000. That means there are people who actually think of bringing around that amount in cash! I wouldn't even know what $10,000 looked like if it were ahead of me in the baggage claim counter.

That's too bad though because I'd like to have $10,000. With that kind of money, it wouldn't be hit and miss with the hotel. It will also buy me a seat in business class where they serve drinks in real glasses. A business class seat also means being able to move one's arms and legs around a bit.

But then, first class all the way somewhat kills a bit of the travel. If all I wanted was to stay in a fancy hotel, I could do that here and save money. I always felt traveling has to be about getting immersed in other worlds. And if that mean wandering aimlessly in the streets of a city where people don't understand English, then so be it.

How about you? What would you want to gain in your travel to foreign land?


Tracey said...

Are you going somewhere? XXX

Amy said...

I have never been one to think of going to different countries...I am happy with just catching the sun on my grandmas balcony in italy lol.

$10,000...i would love to see that lol!


Angry American said...

Don't feel bad. I was born and raised in america and have never seen a $100 USD bill in my life. Probably never will either. As far as a safety deposit box, maybe I should put the rest of my organs in them before I lose them too 8)=

What I'll gian in my travel to the Phl is more than I'll ever find here in this shit hole we call america.

Sid Brechin said...

I have only flown first class once and it was as result of getting bumped up. Economy was overbooked First Class had some empty seats and two of us were military traveling in uniform so we got moved to First Class. Saskatoon to Calgary not only are the drinks in glasses they are complimentary so we are lucky we didn't get poured off the plane at the other end.

I have also been mugged once. My youngest brother and I 3 days before I was to go for a grading in karate. Result, I got so badly bruised to my inner thighs by kicks I blocked I had to stay off my feet two weeks. Roger got his nose broken. 3 muggers knocked out all 8 arrested and convicted and an end to a 4 month wave of random muggings in the area.

Most cash I have seen at one time a little over 3 million in small bills. An Army payroll and with more weapons guarding it then even I ever wanted to see.

PS I'm back home and while I was at Mom's when the basement flooded my brother stopped there this morning as his cistern had gone dry.Irony.

Mimi said...

Odette, I got so homesick when we were overseas visiting family. I enjoy meeting people, seeing the sights, and just seeing how people live. Are you planning a trip?
Hugs, Mimi

Odette said...

Tracey, Mimi,
No I am not, although i wish i am. It ia always nice to see new sights and learn new culture.
Good luck to your cruise trip, Trace and welcome home, Mimi!

Cal said...

I would like a taste of the real culture of that place, which would include their lifestyle, not a homogenised global village version. I enjoyed reading this Odette and visualising the haggling. Maybe your people are more naturally assertive than us? xxx


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