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Just got back from Russia

Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.

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Postby momopi » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:05 pm

Money is something that you can't take with you. So use it as you see fit in your life time.


Earlier this summer, one could buy foreclosed fixer upper homes in Palm Springs for a mere $26,000. Prices has gone up since but you can still find them for under $50,000:
http://www.redfin.com/CA/Palm-Springs/5 ... me/6044162

Real Estate cycles come and go every ~10 years. Catch it on the way up and you can build enough equity to retire in PH with your own car and driver.
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Postby Winston » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:56 pm

Mr S wrote:Earlier in the year when I first met Ladislav in person, I was in between work and still jumping through hoops to secure the present well-paying job I have now. He treated me to drinks and food at some bars and I appreciate it. I think he understands when a person has sufficient funds to cover his own expenses and when he doesn't. Now I make enough to cover for myself but at that time period I had to pinch my pesos so to speak.

Everyone has different opinions on how to spend money. Unless you have legal custody over their life such as with a minor/elderly relative or spouse, we really can't give lectures to adults. They are responsible for their own fate whether it jives with our opinions about financial matters or not.

Worry about what you do and not others and you should get on fine in the world. Our society tends to focus on others actions more so than our own and this is what is causing us to slowly lose our personal freedoms. Living overseas, people generally don't give a shit about me and I'm almost entirely on my own, and that's the way I like it! 8)


Valid points Mr. S.

But remember, when we first met and went bar hopping, I bought all your drinks too. And I paid for your hotel for the night and transportation costs to and from Manila. At that time, if you remember, I had just arrived in Angeles City and asked if you could come down and show me around. You agreed but said that you were on a tight budget and couldn’t spend too much. At that time, I was getting 100 dollars a week from Stefan and could easily afford to treat you to drinks and cover your expenses, which by US standards were not much, so I did. Plus since I had asked you down to show me around, it was only appropriate that I help you with your expenses too. You didn’t have to ask of course.

Generally, the friend with more money or isn’t as tight on their budget will offer to treat the one with less money or on a tighter budget. That’s the common rule, and that’s exactly what I did. I treated a friend in a situation where I should, also cause I could afford to.

Therefore, don’t you think it’s a bit odd or bizarre that when Ladislav has $24,000 EXTRA cash, and I tell him when we are bar hopping that “I can’t afford to buy 80p drinks every few minutes like you can, I can only go to one or two bars, which is why I am more selective of where I go than youâ€￾ that rather than say "Don't worry, I'll cover you", he replies by shrugging his shoulders and saying, “Well that’s too badâ€￾. I mean, gosh, even guys on tight budget can afford to buy his friends a few drinks that cost $2 each. But a guy with $24,000 extra cash who is supposed to be your friend, doesn’t even offer?!?!?! But instead shrugs his shoulders and says “Well that’s too badâ€￾?!?!?!

You can’t deny that that is bizarre and unusual. Right? I mean, how many guys do you know with lots of extra cash that would refuse to buy a $2 drink to a good friend of several years? I've known hundreds of people and I certainly cannot think of someone that would do that.

I know if I had $24,000 in extra cash, I sure as hell would treat all my real good friends to meals and drinks. Hell ya! I would definitely NOT tell a friend "Well that's too bad" if he can't afford to keep buying drinks to hang out with me. Hell no! That's just uncalled for.

The point is, Ladislav's "heart of gold" is highly selective. It's only toward "damsels in distress" as he calls them. But to his male friends, his heart can be stone cold. The above examples strongly indicate that. In other words, he is more generous than most other guys in some areas, but also LESS generous than most other guys in other areas. Every up side has a down side.

What's funny and ironic is that in situations where one ought to be generous, like treating small things to their friends, Ladislav isn't. But when he ought not to be generous, like giving too much to girls (e.g. 1000 dollars) you don't know who work in bars, he goes overboard and is too generous to the extreme. In other words, he does what he shouldn't and doesn't do what he should. On the other hand, I tend to be generous when I ought to be, and not generous where I ought not to be, which is more logical.

BTW, it's not true that he did not know that I was on a budget or poor, as he said, because I made that very clear to him directly in no uncertain terms on several occasions. But his response was to say "Well that's too bad". Another time when he invited us to dinner, I told him I was low on cash and asked if he could treat us to dinner this time, and he said "no".

Later, Dianne asked me, "How come Ladislav never offers to treat us like your other friends do?" And I replied, "I don't know."

Here's a paradoxical question to ask yourself:

Winston is very frugal and a tightwad most of the time, while Ladislav is a big spender who splurges a lot. Both of them admit to this. Now, given this, how is it that when Winston's friends are short on cash while they are out, Winston will gladly offer to treat his friends (as long as they are real friends and not users) while Ladislav will just say to his friends "Well that's too bad"? Now THAT is a big paradox, don't you think?

BTW, the other day I treated my new Filipino American friend, whom I have a lot in common with, to drinks the whole night, cause he ran out of cash. He graciously appreciated it and said he would treat me back when he had some cash next time. He follows the same books, sites and films that I do, especially Zeitgeist and hates the "system" as well, and likes getting girls.
Last edited by Winston on Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Winston » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:03 pm

ladislav wrote:It is more like fatigue than sarcasm. Too tired to carry on such a discussion. I do agree with Winston's logic from the position he is coming from. I simply forgot about the importance of money for some people where they live.

It is true. Here in the Middle East no one even thinks about such things. Plus we do not have women to treat here as a rule since it is mostly guys that go out. It has been like this over a decade. Here whoever treats who, whoever spends ( or does not spend) what is immaterial. No one ever counts anything. Older people treat younger ones, younger people treat older ones, there are no richer or poorer among us here. Some guy takes some more food, spends more money, does what I did , no one even thinks about it. It is just not important-such amounts of money simply are not discussed or paid attention to. Money is plentiful here. I never had any problems here when going out and no one ever mentioned to me here that I did something wrong. I just do not think about those things here in the rich oil countries of the Arabian Gulf. Sometimes I held parties and paid for them, sometimes people paid for parties, some people overate, some people under-ate, there is no rancour held for months and years over $10, over a principle, over anything. This is why I like working here. People here are used to abundance of money.
Plus maybe I do lack social skills. Therefore I shall be more careful next time.

But they are important to Winston based on his background and his way of thinking, and I accede the argument to him. I shall be very very sensitive to his needs/points of view from now on.

I shall no longer reply on this thread.

L


I just wanted to give you some valid points to consider, that's all. No one sees themselves objectively. Mr S is right that no one has a right to tell another what to do, but we do have a right to express our opinions and inform others about "unspoken rules" that are usually followed. After that, it is up to others to decide what they want to do with that info.

That being said, thank you Ladislav for sending me the cell phone load the other day. I appreciate it.

What's important is that although everyone makes mistakes, the measure of a man's character is in how he RESPONDS and HANDLES those mistakes once he learns about them. And you do handle that graciously Ladislav, which means you are a good person with good intent inside at least. I hope others can follow your example.
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Postby Mr S » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:54 pm

Winston,

You never paid for my transport or hotel when you first came to AC. Perhaps you bought me drinks while showing you around, that was about it. I remember being there and you never came out the first night cause Stefan didn't want you to or something. Anyways, I was there 2 or 3 days that time and if I was that poor I wouldn't have gone there in the first place. I've never had anyone pay for my transport or hotel room and wouldn't expect them too. Perhaps drinks in bars are appropriate but that's about it. I think your memory is a bit skewed for that time period.

And I'm not going to get into some long-winded theoretical discussion about why your right and I'm wrong or whatever. This is my recollection of the matter and that's all I'm going to say about it.

I personally don't care how others spend their money as long as it's not mine. I see lot's of people in the bars spending and doing foolish things with their money that I would never do. But I don't know their circumstances and I'm not them so I don't care.
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Postby Winston » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:41 am

Mr S wrote:Winston,

You never paid for my transport or hotel when you first came to AC. Perhaps you bought me drinks while showing you around, that was about it. I remember being there and you never came out the first night cause Stefan didn't want you to or something. Anyways, I was there 2 or 3 days that time and if I was that poor I wouldn't have gone there in the first place. I've never had anyone pay for my transport or hotel room and wouldn't expect them too. Perhaps drinks in bars are appropriate but that's about it. I think your memory is a bit skewed for that time period.

And I'm not going to get into some long-winded theoretical discussion about why your right and I'm wrong or whatever. This is my recollection of the matter and that's all I'm going to say about it.

I personally don't care how others spend their money as long as it's not mine. I see lot's of people in the bars spending and doing foolish things with their money that I would never do. But I don't know their circumstances and I'm not them so I don't care.


I did. I am 100 percent sure of it. I can show you the email to you from my gmail where I made the offer to pay for your transportation and hotel.

On my 2nd night in Angeles, we went bar hopping all night. I paid for all your drinks and finally at around 3:30am, I barfined that girl in red at Blue Nile that you thought was hot too. Her name was May.

Before you left, you reminded me of my promise, saying "Are you still going to reimburse me for my hotel and transportation?", since I had said I would by email. I said "oh yeah". And you said 1500p would do. So I handed you 1500p in cash before you left.

The memory of that is 100 percent crystal clear in me. Remember I also remember things that happened in kindergarten, my friends' names, teachers' names, etc.

Try to think about it and you will remember. If you want, I can show you the email to you in my gmail sent box, where I made the offer to pay for your hotel and transportation, and you accepted it. If your emails are all saved in your yahoo account, look in your archives under October/November 2006 and you will see that we discussed all this before I arrived.

I normally don't pay for such expenses, but you told me your budget was tight, and plus you came down to show me around. And plus, it wasn't very much by US standards. You wrote me that you could get a decent hotel for 1000p, which was $20 at that time. And your bus and taxi costs were also very low. So I gave you 1000p for the hotel and 500p for your transportation costs to and from Manila. Then we said goodbye and I brought that girl back to my hotel by trike.

I am 100 percent sure about this. That night in AC was very vivid to me, and very memorable as well, since I was on cloud 9 and a lot of wild things happened. You even filmed a group of girls getting on top of me, in Neros, if you remember. That's why I remember everything crystal clear.

Go ahead and check your email archives where I said I would reimburse those things for you. If you want, I can copy and paste them here from my gmail archive too, to refresh your memory.

I hope all this comes back to your memory now.

PS - This isn't about right or wrong. It's about courtesy, etiquette, and treating your friends like friends, which most people I know do.
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Postby Winston » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:01 am

Mr S,
Perhaps this will jog your memory. This was the girl I barfined that night at Blue Nile. It was close to 4am and we were running out of time, since you kept wanting to hop around without picking anyone, so I quickly chose the hottest girl I could find. Before I took her home, we were about to part, and you reminded me of my promise to reimburse your hotel and transportation, and said that 1500p would do. So I handed that to you in cash. If you sit down and concentrate and focus on that time, which was approx November 2006, maybe it will all come back to you. But I am 100 percent sure of it.

Image
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Postby Mr S » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:50 am

I remember the night and looked at my emails. I never demanded to be compensated for showing you around, you offered to reimburse me if I came up and showed you around. So it's possible you gave me 1500 as a gentleman agreement but I don't remember the actual transaction taking place. I know you went with a chick, I don't think I went with anyone myself that night. I was drinking that night anyways so that dulls the memory a bit.

What's interesting though is looking at my writing from back then, I feel like an entirely different person and now wouldn't have the same style of writing or thoughts. It's just interesting to notice how much someone can change year to year with continued self-learning and development.
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Postby Winston » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:35 am

Mr S wrote:I remember the night and looked at my emails. I never demanded to be compensated for showing you around, you offered to reimburse me if I came up and showed you around. So it's possible you gave me 1500 as a gentleman agreement but I don't remember the actual transaction taking place. I know you went with a chick, I don't think I went with anyone myself that night. I was drinking that night anyways so that dulls the memory a bit.

What's interesting though is looking at my writing from back then, I feel like an entirely different person and now wouldn't have the same style of writing or thoughts. It's just interesting to notice how much someone can change year to year with continued self-learning and development.


Well you reminded me of my offer before we parted that night.

Yeah I look at my writing a few years ago and I totally want to change everything. It looks so primitive and flawed. So my style seems to change too. But that was a long time ago, 2006.

Fields has a lot of new upscale bars now, one even has an outdoor plaza. It sucks that I'm banned by Dianne from going to them.

Yeah you didn't go with any chick that night. It was close to 4am.

Also, here are the bars we visited that night that I can remember:

LaPasha (where I fell in love with that waitress who hugged me with genuine affection)
Lancelot (where I met Mylene, that girl I dated later)
Lollipop (where I had those body shots from those two girls that you took pictures of)
Agasha (Korean club that is kind of prudish)
Nero and Blue Nile (the complex you took me to where I barfined that girl)

See how good and specific my memory is? hahaha
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Postby Winston » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:49 am

Mr S wrote:I personally don't care how others spend their money as long as it's not mine. I see lot's of people in the bars spending and doing foolish things with their money that I would never do. But I don't know their circumstances and I'm not them so I don't care.


I know you are independent and also frugal like me. You don't like to waste your money or give someone money that they don't deserve, esp scammers and greedy leeches. We are the same in that way.

But you see, at least you are consistent about it. You are not too generous to girls, or waiters or taxi drivers, etc. But neither are you to your friends. You do not like to treat your friends, but neither do you give free money to girls or "damsels in distress". At least there is CONSISTENCY there. I can understand and respect that at least.

But when someone is only generous to strangers but never to friends, or only generous to females but not to males, then that person is not consistent. That's my point. And it looks bad and rude when someone has $24,000 in extra cash but won't even offer to buy their friends a $2 drink. Stuff like that makes you wonder whether the person is really your friend or not. It's just rude and looks bad. You know what I mean? (esp when the person portrays himself as having a heart of gold and being super generous with his cash, that kind of rattles my chain)

It may be that you believe that everyone should pay for themselves, even with friends, but doesn't that reflect the isolated segregated lifestyle that we don't like in the US?

As a spiritually focused person, you know that we are all one, and that the universe is naturally interconnected. This is shown in quantum physics and that we all come from the same star dust. So why should we all only care about ourselves and be selfish, right? Your spiritual research and experience has given you that basic knowledge and understanding I'm sure.

I'm not saying that we should all be totally selfless or totally selfish, but why not find a middle ground? Moderation is the key. One should not be too generous or too stingy. Why not the middle way? Isn't that a principle teaching of Buddhism?

I do not hand out free money either. But there is nothing wrong with treating your friends. Most people do that. It's a part of friendship. Why should a "friendship" be two people who hang out but don't care about each other and never help each other? That I don't get.
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Postby Mr S » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:24 am

I'll treat someone I know and deserves it if he/she is down on their luck or whatever. I've treated my former workmate to drinks and food since he is poor now and just had a kid so he doesn't have much spending money if he goes out. I don't generally do this unless I know the person and they have a generally good disposition. I don't normally treat strangers or people I rarely hang out with cause I feel I need a bond with them before doing that. This is why I don't generally like buying drinks or food for women in bars cause most of the time they are just using guys as suckers. I may not be popular but I know who my true friends are using this method.

I've been generous on specific occasions to strangers also if I sense they really needed the help. I just don't throw my money around like some guys do. I still don't get why people will give the taxi guys here extra money over the meter. This has caused them to be extra greedy in my opinion and grumpy. Most of the other cities in the Philippines the taxi guys aren't as jerky cause there aren't as many foreigners throwing money around without thinking. Just because you have extra money to spend doesn't mean it's a good thing to upset the natural financial dynamics of the country you happen to be visiting. It screws it up for others who don't have money to burn and have a budget. That's one reason why the prices keep going up in AC, there is a small minority of big spenders ruining it for the rest of us.
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Postby Winston » Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:11 pm

I agree. Those guys who splurge in AC are ruining it for the rest of us. I sometimes have to tell bar girls that I'm not like those stupid foreigners that do that.

I don't mind giving those taxi drivers a little extra like 20 pesos tip or something. It's only like 50 cents and they work almost for nothing. So I do sympathize a little. But I do not like their attitude that I owe them extra money. It's a turn off and gets me mad.

As to bar girls, when you buy a ladies drink, you get to touch them, put your hand on them, hold their hands, feel their legs, even kiss them and french kiss them. For 150p or 100p, it's definitely worth it. So I definitely don't mind doing that. By US standards, it's so cheap that it's practically a steal.
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Postby Mr S » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:54 pm

I don't mean ladies drinks, I mean buying regular drinks for girls in a normal bar setting. I think guys that do that are suckers cause most of the time the woman is just getting as many as she can for free from multiple guys. I'm pretty good as spotting fakers who just want free drinks from girls who have a genuine interest in you.

Taxi guys should not expect a tip, which is how they act nowadays when a foreigner uses their taxi. Or they try not to use the meter and ask for a standard fare. Taxi's in other cities don't do that, they will actually give you change without giving you a hard time either.

Last time I was in AC I was in that Carousel bar and some dude literally bought all the bucket balls which were like 20 and threw them everywhere. Then he did it again and again maybe up to ten times, I'm not kidding! I think each bucket is maybe 300 pesos or something. I guess he was just having fun and getting a kick out of watching the girls squirm around for balls everywhere. I personally think its degrading but some people get their kicks off of it. I was also in LA Cafe a few weeks ago and some guy was just throwing money into the air into the fans and letting it fall everywhere. I think its a superiority high or something, watching everyone else grovel on their feet before him grabbing money. I wasn't near him or I would have grabbed some money probably, I don't care, it's a regular bar. If he is throwing hard cash around for anyone to grab, if its near me I'll get me some.
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Postby ladislav » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:19 pm

Winston, you are most welcome. As far as that “richâ€￾ Japanese lady goes, her story is very unfortunate. She was brought by her husband who was working in the Philippines and who subsequently died. She was left to tend for her teenage daughters in Manila. She was miserable. Yes, he left some money but not much by Japanese standards. She opened up a small canteen catering to Japanese companies in RP. Life was shit for her for years. But she worked from dawn to dawn and prayed very hard and slowly she got on her feet. She is still working her butt off daily and hardly ever sees the light of day. I do not think she has a $100,000 in the bank. Plus she is old. Some 76 years old now. Working like a dog still. Never complaining. The house you saw was rented- 37,000 pesos a month. The car was also likely rented or paid in installments. A driver is what? P 5000 a month? Well, maximum, she is making some $2000-3000 a month profit, which is what some ESL teachers can make if they work such insane hours in Manila as that lady works. She should be retired by now but she can’t be. Not enough money. And she does not want to become a burden on her daughters who are in Japan. And God knows how many debts she has- how many loans she has taken out to run her restaurant(s). Every time I go to her house, she stays alone with me and I am the only person she cries to and tells how hard life is for her and how hard she has to work. I believe her- have known her for 17 years now. I always leave her some money when I am there.
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Postby Winston » Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:56 pm

Ladislav,

If she was really struggling, then why rent a house for 37,000p a month? It would make more sense to rent a smaller house or bigger apartment.

Drivers usually cost 3000p a day, not 5000p a month! It includes the van though.

Are you sure she really has to work? I'm sure you know that Chinese and Japanese are workaholics. They will work even when they are filthy rich or even if they have a terminal illness.

One of my dad's best friends has this weird terminal illness, a nerve disorder, which the best doctors in Los Angeles cannot cure. He is filthy rich too and does not need to work. Yet he and his wife co-own a hotel and have to manage it several months at a time and live there. So, even though this filthy rich guy has a terminal illness, he still CHOOSES to spend his remaining time working!!!

Imagine that.

Insane, I think. But like I said, Chinese and Taiwanese feel empty without work. They lack the ability to really enjoy life. They are weird to me. And I am an alien soul to them. Even when they have a terminal illness, they'd rather spend their remaining time working than enjoying life or doing something wonderful or meaningful.

Weird. I'll never understand those people.

Even in the US, you will see that a lot of Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day, cause Chinese people do not like taking days off. Deep down, they cannot enjoy life and do not believe in it. Weird people.

In addition, they also usually require a strict routine everyday which they strictly follow everyday. I see this in all my relatives in Taiwan.
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Postby ladislav » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:28 am

I think the lady merits being treated on an individual basis, not because she might belong to the same culture as the Chinese and Taiwanese.

She has to maintain a place that is semi decent because she needs to invite her customers once in a while and if these see that she lives in an unsightly place, will probably not deal with her again.
My parents too, on a very limited budget had to buy a place in Palm Springs, CA and in a good neighborhood. Otherwise, no customers would visit them.
A van bought on installments will not cost that much per month. A driver hired separately will also cost very little.
Let’s say she rents that house for $800 a month plus utilities -$100 +200 a month. Plus the van monthly payments- say $400 a month + a driver, well, say $150 a month, or at best $200 a month. Then she has a cook whom she pays $100 a month. More or less $800+ 200+ 200+ 400+ 100 = $1700-2000 a month on all those things.
But it is all a conjecture. I have not seen her bank account and do not know if she is rich or poor. She has sacrificed tremendously building a life alone in a country like the RP and she is 76 now so she deserves whatever comforts she desires for herself. Whether she works because she is a workaholic East Asian or because she has to, is best to be remanded to the realm of the benefit of the doubt.
She has no husband and her kids visit her once in a while, too. That is why I always pay her when I am there and she is grateful for an extra $100 bucks I leave with her when I am there. She has built all those restaurants alone by the sweat of her brow and I do not expect her to treat me for free because I know what hard work is like. I would not dream of her treating me.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
ladislav
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