No. of Recommendations: 3
First I've been to a few stores in the area and most stuff is now roughly the same price as it is in Halifax (SIL confirms this). Clothes is a little bit cheaper as are some stuff such as handsoap. Tooth paste is more expensive, breakfast cereal has less choice and is actually far more expensive than in Canada? The biggest difference now is the sales tax and here they tax food from the grocery store which we don't (well at least they taxed the chicken nuggets I bought at Costco this morning for my granddaughter).

Gas is cheaper but shockingly I cannot buy gas with my Visa Card in the city as I must enter a zip code and of course SIL's zip code won't work with my card. }};-()

The first station I tried it at the cashier didn't speak a word of English and my Ethiopian is a bit rusty. The second station the girl told me with a smile I could pay cash in advance "how much did I want". Since I keep limited cash on hand and didn't want to put it all in the gas tank I will have to gas up on the highway in the morning.

SIL's landlord has some sort of repair insurance with a $70 deductible per visit. This is a shocking rip off and the repair people made nine visits showing up with wrong parts and such to fix the A/C this summer, it took a month (in Alexandria) and the bill to the insurance company was outrageous. When the microwave died two weeks ago rather than pay $100 for a new one the parts to fix it arrived yesterday, no idea when the repair man will show up. What were the companies insuring this stuff thinking, this is nothing but a license for the repair people to commit grand larceny?

The house is in one of those designed neighbourhoods that won all sorts of awards when it was built. It really is very nice and they do everything for you but ... you can look up "Cameron Station" if interested.

Traffic around here is best described as inconsistant and the drivers are aggressive. SIL is easily frustrated and when a normal 10 minute drive to pick up the Princess Monster turned into 30 minutes of hell last week he was wild. C. describes it best by saying everything you do around here is just a bit more difficult than it is back home. She includes expecially healtcare related stuff but adds the banking system and a host of others. SIL tried for six months to get them to just pay off his VISA CC when it was due and finally gave up while I've been doing it for over 25 years at RBC. I'm sure it must be possible but he couldn't find it.

I asked SIL about the ZIP code thing and he mentioned that all our cards have PIN # and chip these days but the US is still working on it. I suppose with our small number of banks it is easier to coordinate these things? Fortunately he has a Shell card which he loaned me and we evened it out based on what he owed me for the diapers and chicken nuggets I picked up this morning.

Tim <heading home tomorrow> 443
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