Thursday, July 19, 2007

Euro kicking dollar’s ass

The IHT has interviewed American tourists in various Euro capitals--and they're pissed off! The consensus is that Europe remains a lovely place to visit but man is it fucking expensive!

Welcome to my world, people. When I moved to Spain in July 2001, they were on the peseta, rents were manageable, and I’d usually get a free tapita with my beer. How times change! (Does this mean I’m actually getting old?) Now, the peseta is a piece of folklore, and the time when a dollar equalled a euro is receding deeper into the hazy memory of early expatdom.

In fact, the dollar has reached a record low against the euro and a 26-yr low against the Brit Pound. So it’s payback time for Europeans who’ve always hesitated to visit New York. With the euro up to 37% stronger (and climbing), that week in Manhattan is suddenly possible. Not to mention a 2 day escape to, say, Vegas, where that saved cash can be blown on those universal leisure pursuits, gambling and prostitution.

For us Americans, however, times is hard. Especially for young people. Typical expat jobs like language teaching or bartending/waiting don’t pay very well to begin with, so the ‘advantage’ of getting paid in euros as opposed to dollars isn’t really that great, since the overall salary sucks. On the other hand, if you’re an American getting paid in dollars (like me, though my salary is nothing to write home about), you have to chop off 30% to get your euro equivalent. Poof! And I remember the Parisian days when I couldn’t wait to convert my euro bank account into dollars… what goes around, poof!

Americans have treated Europe like their default vacation destination for a long time, but the time has come to consider South America and Asia as legitimate options. Most of those places are still “cheap” for us, though expensive airfare may deter short trips. The thing is, those places, while surely more exotic than most Euro destinations, still don’t occupy nearly the same sanctified place in our collective mindset as EUrope: despite the economic hardship, the number of US tourists in EUrope has continued to increase as the dollar has fallen. That speaks to the sheer size of our upper middle (and upper) class: we've got more than enough well-off families and their ignorant, spoiled children to fill every internet cafe and hostel on this puny Continent!

And in the end, what’s the big difference between spending $2000 and $2600 on your trip? (I won’t answer that.)


jt said...

i just learned about wind energy in the czech republic and in germany
and thats all i have to say

oh and that the Yankees are only 7 games back from boston

zoltero said...

well why don't you put together a little informe for us, jt, so we can all learn something??? :)