Friday, November 9, 2007

Euros is Awesome Moneys

I don't know what the deal is, but ever since I was a junior high school geek, I've been fascinated by currency exchange rates. I was always interested in foreign countries in general, I guess, and despite being isolated in the middle of Nebraska, I was lucky enough to stumble into some opportunities to travel. When I was about 13 (I think) a nearby college sponsored a junior high school student trip to England and France, for about 10 days in July. It was pretty cheap, although you had to get recommendations from teachers and write an essay to qualify or something. Anyway, the idea that my cash, earned from furious lawn-mowing for the months before the trip, might be worth more or less in these other places was intriguing to me, I guess, so I watched the exchange rates in the paper like a hawk, and was excited when the dollar went up right before our trip: I could buy more Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Ultravox records!!

Fast forward, er, some years. Now, on the eve of my tour of Europe, our lovely American dollars are basically worth less than toilet paper all over the continent. $1.47 at last check, which is completely bonkers: when I was in Amsterdam over New Year's 2001-2002, the Euro was a joke of a currency, floating around 80 cents, and everything was a bargain. I did the math, and even McDonald's was cheaper in Amsterdam than in San Francisco. Crazy. I stayed in one of the best hotels in the city and flaunted my riches around like a feudal lord. (Of course I got desperately ill and threw my back out and had a miserable time anyway, but whatever, fuck Amsterdam).

But this trip will be very different. Searching for a Paris hotel for part of the trip made me feel like a desperately poor student all over again: anything under $150/night was basically a shoddy hostel in the 900th Arrondisement. I'm trying to save money these days, so it's even more stressful--I can't just say "hey I'll buy a pair of shoes there if these hurt my feet," since those shoes might cost the equivalent of $200. On the other hand, my DJ fees will be paid in Euros and of course they have already been set, so every day it's like my fees go up a couple bucks. Planning a European tour, it's like an investment in your future. I couldn't afford not to go.

The question will be if I can resist tasty European snacks enough to make the Euro's dizzy heights work for me and actually bring home a profit. We'll see... I'm awfully tempted by snacks.

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