Thursday, 2 October 2008

Say cheese!

I've always found shopping in other countries an exciting experience. In the days before the Euro you'd grapple with exchange rates and confusing currencies and pray you were getting a bargain. I will always be slightly disappointed that we fell just a few thousand Lira short of spending a million in cash on our honeymoon in Italy! Bosnia Herzegovina may not yet be in the EU but its currency, the Konvertible Mark (KM) is pegged to the Euro. As I write there are about 2.5KM to the pound.

Some things here are so cheap compared to the UK it's almost embarrassing, others are not. Second-hand cars do not depreciate in the same way. But eating out is cheap, even when it's expensive by Bosnian standards. A slice of cheesecake at Sarajevo's most expensive cafe was 4.90KM; significantly less than London prices. Two people can easily get a good lunch for the cost of one McDonalds. Bosnia Herzegovina joins Armenia, Albania and the Vatican City as the only European countries without the Golden M. But I digress!

While eating out is comparatively cheap, eating in throws up some surprises. I didn't buy a pack of four 80g tins of tuna for almost 10KM. The pack price may be only slightly higher than what I was paying in Sainsbury’s but the tins look half the size. Depending on the store, pasta is pricy too. But the one that really caught my eye was this: a small lump of vacuum packed Gouda going for something over 12KM. As 2.5 is an awkward number to divide by quickly I tend to halve it then lose a bit. So my brain screamed: six quid for that? I know cheese is never cheap by oh for some generic value cheese!

3 comments:

David said...

Hello! Just thought I would let you know this American is following your adventure. (My daughter in Mostar exchanged e-mail with you a week or so ago.) Our family will likely be visiting in the spring of 2010, so perhaps we can meet for coffee or tea. Or some cheese. :)

Pisaman The Second said...

I really want some cheese now...

WeDoAdventure said...

The custom here is to arrange going for coffee on the spur of the moment but 2010 sounds great!