Monday, September 1, 2008

American Boy

August in LA was especially interesting this year. Many Angelenos who would normally go on a trip for their vacation, opted instead for a staycation because gas and airfares are so expensive right now. Most of Western Europe has the entire month off, so August is when they all travel. Many head to the places you expect – Ibiza and Northern Crete (If you’re a Brit), Corsica and Sardinia (if you know what’s what), Mykonos and Positano (if you’re a little ahead of the curve), St. Tropez (if you’re rich) and Nice (if you’re not). But with the current exchange rate, more and more Europeans are Coming to America for their holiday. And LA was full of Europeans this past month, in the best way. Not only are many of these people super polite, but I got to speak French on a daily basis. Speaking French is not something that I get to do everyday, but in August it’s multiple times a day. You can visibly see the relief on their face once they realize that they’ll be able to rest their brain and speak in their home language. What’s nice about it all is that it’s usually a good starter to an interesting conversation that we then conduct in Franglais. Giving directions is a big one. Suggesting places to go and what to avoid, but I also found myself telling people how to get to The Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas! Even San Francisco! For that one I actually told a person in French how to get there from where we were standing while his girlfriend wrote it down on a napkin. I suggested purchasing a map but they declined, saying that if they got lost they’d buy one then! I’ve never lived like that, especially since MapQuest came around and definitely not now with Google Maps. It felt liberating just imagining it. It’s great to talk with people from other places, and hear what they have to say. I did not get out of the country this summer to experience other cultures so I’ll have to take it where I can.

What blew me away is how much shopping they are doing. The exchange rate is so good for them that they literally come to LA with empty suitcases that they plan to fill entirely with the clothes that they’ve bought! When I tell them about the outlet shopping that’s within 100 miles, you can feel their excitement rising. Plus, they’re not even staying at some cheap motel, they’re at the Beverly Hills Hotel or the W and renting a Mercedes! What’s going on? I knew that the dollar has been tanking, but I simply had no idea it was like this. Oh well, I guess that’s why today is called Labor Day, huh? (not really) Time to shake the summer sand from myself and get back to making money! Hmmm… I wonder if there’s a way to start making money in pounds…

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