Some facts, figures, and things to think about for you tonight.
Exchange rate as of yesterday is 2.80 Nuevas Soles for every 1.00 US Dollar.
The bus is the main way we get around the city and I ride two of them to get to work each day. And then two more on the return trip. Each bus ride, no matter what distance, costs S/.50 which is less than US/.19. So traveling to and from work costs me about US/.80 each day. And the distance to work is about 6 or 7 miles. A taxi for that same distance would cost about 5 soles.
Bananas are S/2.00 per kilo. With the kilo a conversion of 2.2 pounds that makes S/.90 per pound, or roughly 30 US cents per pound. For the rest of the food I´ll let you do the conversions for yourself…
Mangos – 3 Soles per kilo
Peaches – 2.50-3 soles per kilo
Bread – 1 Sole buys you 8 pieces of bread which can range in size…think large dinner rolls
Chicken – Not exactly sure, but i think it’s under 3 soles per kilo (will check with the host parents and get back)
Rice – between 1 and 1.50 soles per kilo
Sugar – I forget at the moment…but i think 3 soles per kilo. (Will also check with my host family a get back to you)
Lunch (full, big lunch) – for us every workday costs 3.50 soles
Newspaper – range from .50-1.00 soles depending on quality and length
Gas – 11 Soles per liter (3.78 liter to a gallon makes 41.8 soles/gallon or roughly $15/gallon)
Movies here do not come in official packaging since everything is a copy of an original or a copy from someone who video taped the movie in a movie theater. Most DVDs cost 2 Soles…Harry Potter can already be found on the shelves here, but be careful. The copy of HP we got was fine for the first half and then switched to German. I wasn´t watching at the time, but the volunteers who were said that they put on Spanish subtitles with the German language and watched it that way. To have a truly good copy of a movie you have to wait for it to come out on DVD in the states and then buy a copy. CDs are the same way…as are Wii, PS2, and most other video games. All priced around 2 Soles each.
The same thing holds fairly true for books and other things…they are very good at making copies here. There is a market where you can have anything copied exactly. Or even created if you have a picture. If you wanted to pretend like you had graduated from Boston College you could simply print off a picture of the diploma, take it to someone at the market, and they would create the document for you…and it would be an exact match. So for textbooks at the university…all you do is take it to be copied, pay for the copy, and return the book. Which in reality was probably just a copy of the text-book to begin with. (Copies come in around S/.04 per page or roughly a penny a page).
Cost of medical care is cheaper too…for most things. Cost to have a wisdom tooth pulled is 20 Soles for the X-ray and then 20 soles for the extraction of each tooth. So for 4 wisdom teeth it would be about 100 soles or about 36 dollars. Which is funny because the cost of our medical insurance is about $150/month (I think).
Fun times in the Peru…also, you´re all lucky that wordpress has spellcheck built into the page.