Nov 142009

Being a marine engineer by profession, my job took me around the world in past five years. This particular incident at an Argentine sea port, Necochea.

Me and an electrical officer had gone for a city visit in the evening. A very good and non crowded city it is. Both of  knew only one word in spanish. Gracias. So with this asset in our hand we were going about the city. Well, time came for our return to the ship, and we started the search of a cab. And no one was ready to come. It was very difficult bargaining with them since there were only private cabs in sight. No meter based cabs were around.

Finally with the help of one cab owner, we managed to persuade a driver to take us. He asked us for five dollars, and we had three. And another 100 dollar note which they wouldn’t have change for. We tried to explain the situation to the driver but couldn’t, with the only word we knew. But some how he understood the situation and agreed to take us.

Half way to the port, he stopped, and made a sign with two fingers indicating that we should go walking from there. After all the unintellegable agrument that followed, the driver pointed at the shopping bag in my hand. I saw a bag of  potato chips protruding from it , with the price clearly visible as 2$. Immediately we agreed and he reached us to our destination in exchange of 3$ and a bag of potato chips.

Well, who says barter is a thing of past?

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  6 Responses to “Barter!! Its Still Exists !!!”

  1. Now, that’s adaptability…..

  2. Well , well, well .. I think many shippies would have had some sort of experience of this sort .

    Whenever we used to cross the Suez canal in Egypt , we have to allow onboard the small vendors who sell many many artifacts — paintings on papyrus , wall clocks in the shape of a LIFEBUOY, different kinds of statues based on Egypts rich and varied HERITAGE , paintings and statues of the Sphinx, of Cleopatra , The Pyramids and so many other things .

    Sometimes we also have to allow onboard a small boat in which these small merchants (also together with them , an electrician which the Suez canal port authorities have deputed) come in . So we haul up the boat and tether it near to the place where our own lifeboats are situauted and then when the passage is over we lower the boat and the vendors go back in their boat

    So these vendors are more than willing to use the barter system and you can get quite a good deal on these artifacts ..

    What they generally ask for are Dove soap ,, or Camay soap ,, or sometimes ,, cigarettes from the Bond Store ,, or agarbattis ,,, These agarbattis are very much in demand ,, for one packet of agarbatti which might cost you say 20 rupees in india ,, they are willing to give you stuff worth USD 10 or USD 12

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