Thursday, January 08, 2009

Life Behind The Curtain

Despite hearing a hundred different reason why I shouldn't, I find I like it a lot here. The staff are friendly, my students mostly great and I'm still at the stage where even the walk home seems wonderfully exotic. The only negative is the high cost of everyday items - and even then I was braced for the worst after a year in the Czech Republic (although at least beer will always be cheap there).

On my salary and deductions - a whopping 31% since New Year tax rises - I'm living on a budget of about 100 lats a week (£130). It leaves me comfortably above subsistence level but doesn't support many extravagances, what with a pint of beer going for anything up to three lats in the Old Town. The difference, I suppose, between my buying power here and in Japan is this: in Tokyo I would occasionally think carefully about the cost of eating in a restaurant. Here I have the same dilemma in the supermarket, looking at a tin of peas.


Myeral said...

Interesting. We have this perception in England (or at least I do) that places such as Latvia would be incredibly cheap, most notably for eating out. I'm also going to tell my friend about your blog. He will be making the annual return trip to Yokohama tomorrow where he has been teaching for the last 15 years. Glad to have made your blog acquaintance.

damo said...

bugger - that's not good

Michael said...

It's not that good, but it's not so bad either. At least I won't lose too much weight living off pork chops and beetroot soup.

Cheers, Myeral - and me too. I think Latvia probably was incredibly cheap about eight or nine years ago, but wages rise slower than the greed of business owners and the stupidity of governments.

Sometimes much slower.

Garry Nixon said...

It seems to be the same everywhere. Prices in Libya, for example, have trebled - in relative terms - over the last three or four years.

The only good thing about it is that if "abroad" becomes more expensive it will discourage the gap-year, search-for-the-self, pains-in-the-arse backpackers.

Myeral said...

Even France, where at least you used to be able to grab some cheap pastis in the Carrefour, is now easily comparable to England, price-wise.