Sunday, August 14, 2005

Monday..Monday..You know the tune!

Sleep! So welcome and inviting! Once our heads hit the pillows - we were out until Monday morning! We awoke around 8:00 AM - a little later than we had hoped but our bodies needed it.
For the most part the bed was comfortable - but then again we were exhausted and the floor would have been fine at that point. The weather here is nice, late summer - early fall cool - just the way that Lisa's father and I like it. For Lisa however it is a bit cool and she is now glad that she packed a few long sleeve outfits. By cooler weather I am referring to mid-60's, just perfect in my book! So now we are up and alternating turns in the shower - which is basically a hand-held wand! The soap here is strange - no deodorant - just soap! So I make a mental note to pick up soap when we shop for supplies and exchange money at the Maxima.

Oh, I forgot to mention in the last post that before going to bed the previous night - after Modestas left - we walked down to the Maxima to buy some breakfast food. The Maxima is pretty cool - they have several versions of them. Think of a Super Wal-Mart or Super Target and then you have a vision a Maxima in your mind. There are several types of Maxima's: Mini-maxima (much like a White Hen), Medi-Maxima (much like a Jewel), Maxima (the Super Wal-Mart) and Hyper-Maxima which is actually a mall - more on the Hyper-Maxima later! So, showers no completed by all - Lisa is without a hair-dryer as none of the converters we bought accommodate the wattage required for a hair-dryer - we are out the door to walk the few blocks to Maxima.

Looking at the Maxima you would think that this country is not struggling at all. It has everything you could possibly want and then some. The only problem - not many people can afford the prices - even as super low as these are. When you convert the prices to American dollars it is very comparable - and as I mentioned before while the prices on goods may be equal, the amount of their salaries is not - so it creates a vacuum of sorts. Add to this the future of the Euro, which is set to go into effect during July 2007 - they are even more worried. Being a part of the European Union (EU) Lithuania must convert their currency over to the Euro by July 2007 - the issue with this - once the conversion is finally made, the cost of goods will adjust but the value of their salaries will not. Businesses are only required to adjust at a 1/4 of the rate over the course of several years. This is intended to help keep business afloat during the transition - but it will only serve to increase the financial strain on the people who work for a living. On the other side of the coin - the older generation who had jobs given to the by the Communist - do not have the skills of the younger folks - so people like some of Lisa's relatives who had very well paying jobs are now out of work in the free economy and do not have the skills that a free economy requires. It is a vicious circle to be in right now - that is why we bring so many suitcases brimming with clothing and other goods to help them get through this.

Ok, so we exchange our good 'ol American Greenbacks at a rate of $2.77 lt per $1.00 us - nearly tripling our money. Now while this is good, Lisa's father complains that it used to be $3 and $4 to $1! By the time we make it through the line and pay for our goods it is lunch time and what is staring us in the face but my favorite restaurant from the last time we were here: Viva Koldounai (Coal Dough I). Koldounai is this tasty little treat that is basically a meat dumpling smothered in butter, onion and bits of bacon. Basically a heart attack on a plate - but ooooo soooooo good! I wolf down about a dozen and proclaim this to be my new home! Luckily we walked to the Maxima - I proclaim that we will work off the additional calories on the way home!

Once home it is time to put everything away and get ready for our dinner at Milda's!

No comments: