Thursday, April 08, 2010

Beerflation


So I spent the day (first day of the "weekend") riding my bike down the beachfront embankment listening to an audiobook version of Elmore Leonard's 1976 crime novel, SWAG.

It's a great book, but as it concerns two guys living the 70's swingin' single lifestyle in between bouts of armed robbery, I was struck especially by the prices of things mentioned in the book. An expensive good-looking hooker costs $50. A character's wealth ans style is established by referring to his $70 shoes. A character complains about an expensive gin and tonic in a hotel bar costing $2.

It got me thinking. When I first went to Russia in 2000, a beer in a bar, club or restaurant anywhere in the city cost less than $1. By the time I left last year, you would be very lucky to find one for less than $3 or $4. I haven't been to Prague in 5 years, but beer was inching up past $1 there, even though it was still great value for the money.

(Obviously beer isn't available in Saudi Arabia, except in the non-alcoholic variety, and a Holsten 33 cl non-alcoholic beer costs about 80 cents.)

So my question to you readers: is there still anywhere on the planet where you can get beer for less than $1? Have the glory days of cheap alcohol disappeared forever like the glory days of cheap apartments and foreign women who liked Americans?

(All the people who smoke are still in luck -- coffin nails are still cheap in developing countries.)

Yet another reason not to go abroad and teach English. I suppose that's one of the ways you know you're old, when you start bitching about how cheap stuff used to be. "I remember when you could get beer for 50 cents and a hooker in Thailand WITH an hour in a short time hotel for $50!" I'll yell that at my nephews next time I see them.

18 comments:

Jack said...

Where I live theres a Liquor Control Board of Ontario(LCBO)which are provincially run stores that sell alcohol. You can't get it anywhere else besides bars and resturants. But there are some reasonable prices. Lucky and Pabst Blue Ribbon are sometimes $24 for 24.

Anonymous said...

Beer here still costs as much in a cheap bar (plenty everywhere and some of them 24/24) as in a night shop... and that would be, 60cent for a cheap good one in a big city center.. That's in the EU not too far from the edge.

Mr Teacher said...

I don't have much to compare to, and haven't been here for long, but Ukraine seems as though it's a good place to be at the moment.

Dirt cheap: especially alcohol, low supply of teachers = comparatively decent wages, lack of rules, nice girls, slowly opening itself to the west so people are curious about you.

I'm really looking forward to spending longer here, and I'm sure there's going to be a fuckload of fun.

English Teacher X said...

since when is there a low supply of teachers there? last I heard it was packed in Kiev with wife-hunters. . .

Anonymous said...

That is true, I've heard too many people refer to Ukraine as an "overfished pond" by people who travel there looking for a wife. Looks like the best places to go nowadays are in South America. Have no idea where the best place to be an English Teacher is, though.

W said...

Here in Budapest, a beer in a popular club or bar is about $2, while at the many dive bars or at the Mexican restaurant during happy hour it's still about $1.25 or $1.50. Same thing in somewhere like Prague or even college towns in the U.S.--seems like the more bars there are, the lower the markup tends to be. But yeah, when I was first in Russia, it was about 20 rubles...then 40...then 60...and now 90 or 120. But the stolovayas and untrendy provincial bars still have 30 or 40 ruble beer. More disturbing though is that vodka shots have gone from 100ml for 20 or 30 rubles to 40-50 ml of 60+ rubles. This, I think, is one of the fundamental reasons that Russia has become so much more dull.

jasonconga said...

I was in eastern Romania last week and a beer at a pub cost 70 euro cents. Most of the time it was 1.50euro but still, that 70 euro cent beer was .4L of draft beer, not bad...

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Ukranian cities outside of the capital are "overfished" or otherwise overrun with teachers? It seems that if Ukraine is overrun, than perhaps there are very few relatively developed countries that aren't.

English Teacher X said...

word up on THAT comment. . . the only places without loads of English teachers are places where there are loads of soldiers looking for insurgents and improvised explosive devices.

Mr Teacher said...

Well, just speaking from experience I walked into a job with no degree/CELTA/little experience during March: even had a choice of where to work.

Wifehunters are probably sticking to tefl.com and shit like that, where each vacancy gets 1034923049 responses. If you look on the local job listing sites, there's plenty of shit to go round. If I had a clone, I'd get him a job too. It's an ez game.

Though i was wrong about it being cheap here. I based the prices from when I was visiting Lviv - should've looked for jobs there, but had no time. Here in Kiev it's pretty pricey. More expensive than Poland in some areas.

stevie austin said...

just got back from my first trip to thailand, 100 baht for a beer (2.50 euro).

In germany i can get a glass of beer for 1.80 euro and a bottle for about 2.50 euro.

apples and oranges for respective locations though.

Also, don't know what the attraction with Thai birds is, didn't see any i liked.

Eve Lopez said...

You make me feel so old, with your stories of $1 beers and the guy comments here alluding to casual sex with random people. I haven't seen either one of those for about a decade.

stevie austin said...

I wasn't alluding to casual sex with random strangers at all. I just said that contrary to what people say, i didn't think the thai woman were particularly attractive.

i guess you can still get a $1 beer anywhere if you chose the cut-price brand from the supermarket.

jesterpr said...

Is the lack of interest in Americans an EE thing exclusively. I feel the same vibe in Japan. But maybe I'm just older, not as cute?

John said...

Here in Japan, price of a beer in a restaurant bar is usually about $5-6. The only bad thing is they like about an inch of head of the beer. But nobody ever said this place was inexpensive.

Anonymous said...

A typical beer in Colombia is still under a dollar.

Mr. Jared said...

Beer in a supermarket in Indonesia is under a dollar, around 2-3 in a bar.

Anonymous said...

A big bottle (30 oz) of local brew in China will still only set you back about 3.5 RMB, which is 60 cents U.S. The cost was 2 RMB back in 1995.