Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Price of Fish

I’m once again facing financial Armageddon as the cost of untying the truck from the container involves fees beyond all recognition.

It’s my welcome to America. A wake up call after the cheap living of Asia. $4 for a starter!? Are you nuts? I expect a 3 course meal and change from each of my dollar bills!

The price people have asked me for doing stuff along this journey has varied wildly along the trip. Often because some countries are just cheaper, but a bigger factor is the goodwill the truck and the journey engenders. Often people have generously based the price they charge me for things or for services based on what it costs them, just cos they like what I’m doing, want to help and feel like they don’t need to make a profit on this oddball project.

I think that in the US that feeling will be harder to engender. Having said that I’m waiting to hear back from a lovely contact at Michelin about some cost price tires.

From Christina’s description, her community in Ashland seems to function on a income of relatively low paid jobs which brings in enough money to get by, but then use a system of endless trades to make life taste sweet. She paid for part of her paraglider by editing the flying school’s website. Her best friend Allison swaps massages for other types of “body work”. Pot Luck dinner parties are the focus of the social life.

I’ve offered to unlash the truck myself to mitigate some of the costs. I have all the tools, all I need is a ramp, and undoubtedly they will say no for insurance reasons. Along with “security reasons”, “insurance reasons” are the most heart-breakingly stifling excuse people hide behind when disconnected from the people those reasons affect. Still I can’t complain. I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t be lining up to sue the minute things go wrong.

Maybe I can give the warehouse workers and fork-lift drivers a Thai reflexology foot massage as a work trade? Hmmm, I’ll run it by the management.

Ironically cheaper countries are sometimes more expensive because people don't have the luxury to be generous with the truck.

The cost of an hour of anyone's time is nothing. Chinese factory workers might accept just a dollar or even less for that hour. But an American warehouse worker will expect a lot more. The warehouseman needs more because he lives in a country made more expensive by his compatriots all charging lots for each hour of their time. It's like a conspiracy of wealth, a catch22 or vicious circle that could collapse, along with a nation's economy if everyone decided their time probably isn't really worth that much.

Having seen the Asian boom it's hard to believe that an American hour is still worth more than a Malaysian one. Asia is circling up. America and Europe are spiralling down. It won't be long before Americans and Europeans release their grip on the value of their time.

I postulate this flow of global wealth as my tuna bake is cooling in front of me. It’s a cheap tuna bake from the cheap restaurant of the cheap hostel I’m staying in. I daren’t stray far from the hostel after dark. The kindly man at the airport desk that recommended this place told me this district, Inglewood, isn’t the safest part of LA by day or night. As I arrived here I was bum rushed by 6 LAPD officers charging in to the hostel to arrest one of the guests. As well as a police escort there are lots of other free things that come with the dorm bed; undrinkable coffee, vinegar flavoured cocktails, hour long bus transfers to the airport 2 miles up the road. This is the way of reducing costs that I'm familiar with. Roughing it.

1 comment:

What do you think?