Tuesday, May 27, 2008

back from houseboats!

This memorial day weekend was awesome! My friends and I spent 4 days living on houseboats at Shasta Lake not having a care in the world. The trip can quickly be summarized as drinking, sleeping then followed by more drinking. Overall it was pretty helpful in terms of our project because I was completely away from society and thus unable to make purchases of any sort. What I noticed however, was a weird economy developing amongst everyone on the trip. Money completely lost its value since it couldn't be used. The bare essentials such as water, food, beverages, and for some cigarettes, skyrocketed in value. As the trip went on and these supplies became more scarce, their value increased as well. At least on one occasion someone offered $30 for a pack of cigarettes but was quickly refused. I'm pretty certain that if the same person had more money he would have increased his bid. It seemed the only way one could acquire goods was through bartering.
This experience enlightened me in how fortunate we are to live in the consumer end of the world. While we are contemplating which pair of Nike sneakers to splurge on, people in third world countries are counting their pennies just to put food on the table. According to "Santa's Sweatshop"(Holstein et al 1996) these are the same people who labor day and night to make items that such as the previously stated Nike sneakers. Houseboats was definitely a fun experience but I'm glad that due to this assignment I've been able to take something from it instead of JUST killing braincells and getting a tan.

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