Sunday, July 6, 2008

Going BROKE in Poland

Here I am in Warsaw, Poland for school going BROKE. Hey, I guess the best way to learn about world finance is to go broke in a foreign country. Hands on learning at its best!

And yes the dollar has been rising against the zloty and the euro since my departure from Boston on Friday but it has not been rising fast enough. Plus, I really don't think the Poles care because they are intent on taking every dollar, zloty and euro that I have in my possession no matter the exchange rates.

Look, call me naive but I honestly thought that since Poland is an Eastern European former socialist state the prices wouldn't be so ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I am fully aware that it is a member of the EU and that prices in the EU are sky high. Hey, I was just in Limerick, Ireland getting jacked up in February but that's Western Europe and it was for work so everything was expensed. Or maybe I am just jaded from the movie Eurotrip where the characters were instantly transformed into millionaires in Bratislava another Eastern European former socialist place. OK, I am not that jaded, but I definitely wasn't prepared for the financial a$$-rape that is taking place now.

Let me break down my first day here in Warsaw for you. I landed about 2pm Poland time which is 6 hours ahead of Boston and took a bus from the airport to the hotel for about $1.50 US. At this point I am thinking this isn't bad at all. The place looks a little old and rigid but the hotel seemed nice so I wasn't worried. I got just a tad apprehensive when the hotel told me that they will be charging my room rate in euros as opposed to the Polish zloty. But I brushed it aside speculating that it must be a European chain and thought nothing more of it. But later when they told me that internet would be an additional $10 euros per day I put my self on alert. After checking myself into my room I decided to pay a quick visit to the hotel bar with my classmate and 2006-2007 "Cropover Captain" of whom I share a room in which the beds are separated by an INCH (pictured above). He had a Long Island Iced Tea and I had a Bacardi & 7up (I also noticed that even though Coke is the dominant soft drink Sprite does not exist here). Guess what the total cost was for the two drinks?

$60 zloty including $4 tip.

And here is the kicker my friend. Upon my arrival I exchanged some dollars for zlotys at a rate of $1 for $1.90 zlotys. So in essence those two drinks including tip cost us a total of $31.58 in US dollars. Now if you have ever been to Europe before you know the tiny portion sizes they deal with over here. Trust me, those were TEN OUNCE glasses, at best, that those drinks were poured into. And theses glasses were then filled with ICE before the beverages were added. Look, at this moment I was immediately reminded of the fact that I am desperately trying to get myself back into shape and the strict diet that I should be on as a result. A blessing in disguise is what my Mother would call this type of situation. :)

How many blessings in disguise are you letting pass you by?


Jeremy said...

I feel your pain. At one of the touristy bars in Paris, I had a pint of lager (which wasn't anything to sing about) for 8.5 euro, or about $13.60. Sounds like the Polish have figured out something the French haven't, and it involves lubricant.

G Hop said...

The funny thing is, no matter how much they have figured out, they do not know who they are dealing with. As much as you always hear this man say he got suckered into something, believe me, he will sucker himself right back out.

Cuz, enjoy the basic until you make it out. LOL

Troy said...

With regards to Jeremy's comment, it gives new meaning to the term, "Polish sausage."

With regards to G Hop's comment, they are literally giving me a run for the money. But rest assured, inroads have been made. :)