I have no idea how most Brazilians afford to live here. The prices are so inflated and the quality of what you get for those prices is not at all what I expected. When I hear some Americans complaining about taxes for schools or the cost of living, I can't help but wish that they could see what it's like to try to survive here.
The Brazilian Government taxes imported toys at 30% so it's not at all surprising to see a Barbie doll that costs R75...that's around $50!!!! FOR A BARBIE. Being a veteran of shopping at Target and finding Barbies there for $6...ouch. It's a good thing that I really dislike Barbie. :)
Unfortunately, everything (except beans and rice and a trip to the Zoo) seems to cost way too much. We broke down and went to the Evil Empire (or McDonalds, as my husband would say) and two 'meals' and a 'feliz meal'... it was around $40....which got me thinking..... why not charge more for things that will cause you woe in the long run??
Shouldn't a cow, pastured, fed, antibiotic-ed (this is mcdonald's beef we're talking about here), bovine growth hormoned, and rain forest destroyer..shouldn't it cost ALOT??? Even if we're talking a free range, grass fed, antibiotic free, happy, healthy, tasty cow...it's still a life, right? Shouldn't meat be expensive??
What about booze?
Cigarettes?? (ESPECIALLY CIGARETTES),
fat, salt, sugar, cake, cookies...shouldn't we expect these items to be of less value and more costly than preventative medicine, vegetables, fruit, access to education?
The fact is that I don't want to put a hamburger in my mouth that took even a year to turn from calf to medicine dump to cow to ground muscle sitting on a sesame seed bun, that only costs a dollar. What kind of process that time consuming, financially extracting and labor intensive ends up only costing us a dollar? Who else just paid for my gluttony and how am I secretly paying?
I'm assuming that a people that will attach such a low value to the price of a life and a year do not give a damn about attaching value to things like QUALITY, SUSTAINABILITY, OR THE WELLBEING OF MY COLON (or even more importantly, the well being of my child). It's not a diatribe...it's just a thought. A thought that keeps pestering me and buzzing in my ear like bloated little mosquito, sick to death on excess. Maybe there is something to be said about the cost of living here...maybe its a lesson in choosing wisely with what little I have. Maybe the fact that the mangos out back are free and the luxury of a salad is a delight should mean something more than a little buzzing in my head. I wish the Americans complaining about their Big Mac being too small or that they have to pay taxes to keep the roads free of potholes could all come here. A little perspective, a little of that Brazilian joi de vivre, a little unaccustomed restraint, and a little appreciation for the VAST comparison of our wealth purely by being American. Grossed out and thankful. I think I'll sit and ponder that for a bit.