Traveling While Traveling

April 24, 2009

As you might already know, I’m in the Canary Islands for a long weekend. And even though it hasn’t been that long since I have settled down in Paris, I already feel like I have left home to travel elsewhere. Such an act allows you to look at things from a different point of view.

For example, I was at a cafe this afternoon with a group of friends where I ordered a coke. When we got the bill, I came to realize one of the fundamental differences between Paris and other “European” cities: I paid 1.50 Euros for something that would’ve cost at least 4 Euros anywhere in the French capital. That’s crazy.

Surely we don’t expect Paris’s prices to be close to those of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, but perhaps we should recognize that it is disproportionately expensive. And with the fall of the Sterling, Paris may well be the most expensive city on the planet.

When you live in a place where you don’t have to even look at the prices, you’re experience will inevitably be significantly different than if you spend half an hour at the local ED (grocery store) to make sure you spend the 20 Euros wisely. For better or for worse, it’s a different experience.

Perhaps living in Paris with loads of money wouldn’t be a lot of fun. There’s something about being broke that gives you the sensation that you’re having an authentic experience. When you know that you’ve worked hard to earn a Nutella and banana crepe, the taste is to die for. But how long can anyone endure such a lifestyle?

Life in the Canary Islands is extremely different. And it’s good to be appreciating the low cost of living, the quality of homemade food, and the freedom from being tied by a tight budget. I wonder how my fellow Arab immigrants from the 18th arrondissment are surviving the rough conditions of Paris?

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