Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meyd in Tsina

I loved going shopping while I was in the Philippines this past January. While I typically avoid malls and big-box stores here in the states (because of the anxiety they cause me, and the temptation to spend money I don't have), I went to a mall nearly every day I spent in the Philippines.

SM City Iloilo is the branch of a ginormous nationwide chain-megamall located about 5 minutes from my girlfriend, Alchi Mae's, house. I loved going there with her and buying awesome clothes for dirt cheap, (that actually fit me!) I literally have the exact same measurements as the mannequins in their department stores! We got used hardcover books for $1.50, and a Big Mac meal for the price of a U.S. Double Cheeseburger (err, excuse me...McDOUBLE).

You have to have a sixth sense for shopping at certain spots in the Philippines, however. This is especially true in the marketplaces of the small towns, where imitation off-brands run rampant. While on a day trip in the quiet town of Altavas, in Aklan province, Alchi Mae tried to contain her laughter while pointing out this Made-in-China perfume list on display in a local shop:

Now, to the untrained shopper, this store would appear to be selling upscale American perfumes, and for dirt cheap. After a careful inspection of the list, however, you will notice the subtle differences between these imitations and their authentic counterparts (...and a big name in U.S. politics?!?)

The moral of the story is, in a culture where all spelling is purely phonetic...


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dude, Where's My Subaru?

A funny thing happened while I walked back to my car Saturday after an evening at Velour. The walk was farther than normal, because parking at Velour has taken a turn for the worse ever since EVERY adjacent business somehow needs their vacant lots to be completely empty at 10 pm.

I knew I parked somewhere on 200 north, which is really the closest place to park on the block anymore. I spotted the ol' red Subaru Legacy, and opened the door to get in. The first thing I noticed was that the squeak in the front door was oddly gone. Hmm...weird...maybe Pyfer fixed it while I was in the Philippines and I had just barely noticed.

Then I got that weird sinking feeling in my stomach. My car was completely empty! I had stopped locking my car, as I stopped keeping anything of value in there. This led me from worry to confusion:

"Why would someone steal a yard-sale sleeping bag?"

"How much will you get on Ebay for a box of 200 Chance Lewis CDs?"

Then my inner dialogue got more analytical, and I started observing more things in the car:

"Is this a prank?"

"The car is not only empty; it's literally been CLEANED!"

"Why does it smell like bad-jock-cologne in here? (a cross between Polo Sport & Testosterone)"

"Is that a Guster sticker on the window?"

Then I looked about 3 spaces down the street, and saw my nearly-identical car, cracked windshield and all. Squeak? Check. Wendy's bag doubling as a trash can? Check. Paper cup in the holder filled with "We Are Chance Lewis" buttons? Check. I headed home.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Of This Much I Am Sure

Next week, my co-worker at Muse Music, Becca is leaving to go on a mission. As I contemplated all of the things that can change (or not change) in 18 months, I told her what I thought the world might be like when she gets home.

I told her that with the current economic crisis, she's leaving the "real world" at a perfect time. For a year and a half, she won't have to worry about a job. With any luck, by the time she gets home, everything will be back to normal and she can pick up where she left off as if nothing happened.

I told her some things will never change, especially in Provo: In 2011 we will STILL call it Beto's (even though they changed their name to Rancherito's like 2 years ago) and BYU students will ALWAYS call it "The Muse".