Thursday, 27 December 2007

Buy Nothing Christmas

A bit late for the current season but this is an excellent site to remind us what Christmas is really all about ! And it can actually be applied to any time of the year when we get caught up in the commercialism of some event or another.

In Canada some of the average numbers are :

Christmas season - $ 23 billion (that is 23,000 million !)
Valentine's Day - $ 2 billion
Mother's Day - $ 1 billion
Father's Day - $ 1 billion
Halloween - $ 1.2 billion (1,200 million dollars on candy, pumpkins and costumes !)

Friday, 21 December 2007

Zimbabwe Exchange Rate

I thought that this was a very interesting article which I came across on the web today. When travelling to other parts of the world and trying to determine the value of what one earns in a given place, we have tended to use the analysis of how long it would take a person to work to be able to buy a loaf of bread in the particular economy. I suppose eggs are fairly representative too !

Not sure who the author of the article is or which publication it first appeared in.

Zimbabweans use eggs to calculate exchange rate

Monsters and Critics Dec 19, 2007, 9:39 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Fed up with myriad official and unofficial rates for hard currency, some Zimbabweans have started using eggs to calculate the rate of exchange. President Robert Mugabe's government has set the official rate of exchange at 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar. But hardly anyone uses that rate these days.

Despite threats from the feared National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC), shops, private tutors, street vendors and cross- border traders all use parallel exchange rates to set their prices.

The problem is that as the annual inflation rate rises - currently it's running at more than 14,000 per cent - black market exchange rates change all the time. And everyone wants to get the best deal.

So some locals have adopted the Hard-Boiled Egg Index (HBEI) to determine what they are calling a fair value exchange rate. The HBEI, popularized by a local financial columnist, works on the premise that across Africa, 1 US dollar buys around eight eggs.

To work out a fair exchange rate for the US dollar on a particular day, Zimbabweans take the cost of buying just one egg - usually from a roadside vendor because shops are poorly stocked - and multiply by eight.

On Tuesday, for example, an egg cost 300,000 or 400,000 Zimbabwe dollars, depending on where you were shopping.Multiply by eight and you get totals of 2.4 million and 3.2 million.

Work out the median, and the fair value HBEI rate for the US dollar is 2.8 million Zimbabwe dollars.'Sometimes the parallel rate gets ahead of the HBEI and sometimes it lags behind,' a local financial news service said Wednesday.

'Generally the HBEI reflects exchange rate inflation, purchasing power parity and domestic inflation in a very effective way.'

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Mmmmm - Biltong !

We make our own traditional biltong - African jerkey for those of you who don't know - by hanging it in our basement in the laundry area. This works all year round as it is cool and dry in the basment and no flies to bother the meat. We use bent out paper clips for hooks ! It only takes about 3-4 days to dry to the consitency that we like - a bit moist, not too dry. Once it is ready we store it in the fridge to keep it at that way. If we do make a bigger batch then we may even keep some in the deep freeze which works just as well.

This is a batch of beef seasoned with salt, pepper and teriyaki sauce. It usually doesn't last long in our household as everyone in the family - and several friends - really enjoy it - even Cai !