Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rouble Rousing

I still find it kind of confusing to work with roubles. The problem isn’t that I can’t add or subtract, as obviously if you have 500 roubles and something costs 300 roubles than you have 200 roubles left. That’s easy. Where I run into problems is that I am still always trying to convert amounts into dollars in my head so I can assess the value of something.

As an example, I offer the following story:

When I first arrived here I had about 11,000 roubles to my name (much more than when I landed in Korea and only had about 60,000 won). I found that living in Russia with 11,000 roubles is rather easy provided you don’t go out to expensive nightclubs and restaurants all the time.

With 11,000 roubles I was able to live for two weeks rather comfortably and buy vodka, beer, cigarettes, groceries, drink beer at a pizza parlour/bar once, eat at TGI Friday’s once, tour around Moscow for a weekend, and purchase sundry other goods (folders and notebooks and pens for school, etc). After two weeks I still had nearly 4,000 roubles left!

Everything I had been paying for up to this point cost between 15 and 300 roubles (TGI Friday’s being more expensive). At one point I wanted to purchase a day-planner so I could keep my classes in order. At the stationary store, however, I couldn’t find a day-planner for less than 1,100 roubles! I bought two weeks of groceries for less than 1,000 roubles, so it didn’t make sense to me that these day planners could possibly be worth that much.

I had to perform some mental mathematics in order to determine if 1,100 roubles was worth spending on a day planner.

First, I had to remember the last exchange rate I saw. It was around the 30-roubles-to-the-US-dollar mark. Here’s when it got complicated (especially when all the staff at this store are pretty and wear incredibly short skirts). 30 roubles = 1 dollar. So that means that 100 dollars is 3,000 roubles. One third of that is 1,000 roubles. What’s a third of 100 dollars? Wow, look at that girl...what was I saying? Oh yes, 1,000 dollars.

1,000 dollars? What cost a thousand dollars? No, a thousand roubles, right. So, if a thousand roubles is a third of a hundred dollars that would make it 33 dollars, right? Oh, she’s smiling at me and I can see her cleavage...umm, 33 dollars? Roubles? She’s so hot! Oh no, I smiled back and now she’s coming over to talk to me...I don’t know Russian. How do I say that in Russian? Umm...Ya nye parrot russki? No, that’s not it...oh good, someone else intercepted her...look at those legs, she could be a model!

Okay, 33 parrots. What? No, roubles. No, dollars. Yes, that’s it! These cheap day-planners cost more than 33 dollars? Forget that. I’m outta here!

I didn’t end up purchasing a day planner.

1 comment:

  1. HAHAHA!!! This is my favourite story so far :) I can totally see you doing that too.