Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Flip Side of the Coin

First of all let me say that this Saturday started badly. I woke up with one of those nasty headaches that makes me feel nauseated. I got out of bed long enough to briefly answer a couple of e-mails and throw up, then went back to bed until about 3:00. Feeling OK now, but I really don't think it's fair to feel like this without having had a shitload of fun drinking the night before!

So OK, I told everyone how cheap it can be to live here in Taiwan. I also recently got my summer electric bill, which I was dreading because I'd been using the air conditioners quite a bit, along with the dryer (because I hate the way my clothes feel like cardboard when I hang them to dry). When the bill arrived, I squinched my eyes closed while I opened it, then took a glance. Wow, only $1557NT! That's like $47.18US, and it was for two months, so only $23.59 per month!!! Holy crap, when I hear how some of my friends in California are paying $175US per month (around $5,775NT) for their summer electric, I know I'm way lucky.

But then we decide to go shopping to buy some "Westerner" food for the house. Most of the local grocery stores have some types of food products that are imported, but there are certain things that are difficult to find, and for those we must make the trek to Tian Mu, to a tiny little store called Wellman's. Yesterday I headed off with Guoxi as my driver, since Wellman's is not anywhere close to an MRT station, and lugging bags of groceries on a bus ain't no fun. I had a shopping list of things I wanted to get to make a cheesecake and my world-famous Kahlua cake, plus a couple other yummies. Here's the sad news:

One bottle of Kahlua - $560NT ($16.96US)

One bottle of Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix - $280 ($8.50US - but dang, I was sure happy to find it!)

Lawry's Taco Seasoning - $52NT ($1.58 US - and in the States you can buy taco seasoning for around $.25 per package. Guess what I'll be stuffing in a suitcase when I go back for a visit?)

Rosarita Taco Shells, pack of 18 - $89NT ($2.70US - would probably not survive being packed in a suitcase.....)

Rosarita Fat-Free Refried Beans - $60NT ($1.82US - can be found at WinCo for around $.50 per can most of the time, will also add to the suitcase)

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese - $52NT ($1.58 US. I actually prefer the cheaper store brands that run around $.25 per box. Not a food I need to eat frequently but it's a "comfort food" for me, so had to have a box on hand)

Sour Cream, 16 oz - $210NT ($6.36US!!!! Damn, guess who won't be making too many cheesecakes nor adding sour cream to her tacos very often?)

Root Beer, 12 oz bottle - $59NT ($1.79US - why buy? see next entry)

Vanilla Ice Cream - $69NT ($2.09US - didn't buy this at Wellman's, thank goodness. What do you get when you add root beer to vanilla ice cream? A root beer float! Yeah, it sounded good, so I splurged on two bottles of root beer)

Pillsbury Devil's Food Cake Mix - $120NT ($3.64US - won't be making too many cakes, either. I don't even know for sure that my little tabletop oven will bake well)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, 2 pack - $28NT ($.85US - wasn't on my list, just was happy they had them, because this is the only store where I've seen them. Had to buy two)

Baker's Semisweet Chocolate Chunks, 12 oz bag - $126NT ($3.82US - for the Kahlua cake. No Nestle's Chocolate Chips in sight, just their butterscotch ones)

Well, then I recalled that I didn't have a mixer with which to make the cheesecake and Kahlua cake (and I still haven't found the stupid graham crackers to make the cheesecake crust), so I had to go to Carrefour to buy one, and of course spent even more money.

Phillips Hand Mixer - $990NT ($30 US)

Espresso/Cappucino Machine - $1790NT ($54US - been wanting one of these since I got here, finally broke down and paid the price. There are Mexican Mochas in my future!)

Barista Seattle Espresso Blend Coffee, 2 pounds - $285NT ($8.64US - the best deal of the day, since coffee is usually way more expensive. This is close enough to US prices to make me happy - bought two bags in case the price goes up!)

Was actually surprised that the black ink for my Epson printer was cheaper than the color ink, because in the US, the black is the most expensive. Got a cartridge for $385NT ($11.66US), so felt pretty good about that.

I ended up spending $6753NT yesterday ($205US) with all of the above plus some other groceries and such at Carrefour. Crap, that was way more than I had anticipated. I'll be eating $30NT bowls of noodles for lunch for the rest of the month, no going to more expensive places.

1 comment:

aetherwellen said...

I'll be eating $30NT bowls of noodles for lunch for the rest of the month

I remember those, used to eat them all the time during my first couple of months in Taiwan.

Guess what I found the other day? White chocolate peanut butter cups! Have you tried them?