Keen readers of this blog with long memories will remember this post when I said that two of the major things I miss about the UK are direct debit and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Well, good news! KFC is here in DSM! Slightly to the north of town, just beyond the American Embassy - a huge, monstrous looking building which seems to me to be strangely appropriate....
Finally today treated myself to lunch there, very much the same as in the UK, except the price in absolute terms is higher than I remember. Which, of course, puts it out of the price range of many people here, except perhaps on a 'once in a blue moon' basis. So it would be interesting to know who it is exactly who goes there and how often. Anyway, before I move on, please allow me the indulgence of a second picture of this great symbol of post-modernity:
So, KFC now solved, what about direct debit? People who know about these things tell me that it's on its way, or even that it's already here. Have to say, I see very little evidence of this, and end up paying a number of bills - including electricity, Internet, back up generator - by actually going to the relevant shops or a bank. Similarly, credit cards are rarely used here, and I've heard of a number of bad experiences from people who have tried. So I continue to have my UK credit card which I use on the Internet or when out of the country, but don't ever use it in shops here, nor do I have any desire for a local credit card. And then, when my parents were here over Easter, my Dad kindly bought lunch on one occasion and, seeing the Mastercard sign in the window, went for his card whereupon I asked him to keep to cash, visualising spending the rest of the day trying to persuade the staff to return the card as they tried over and over again to debit the cost.
But, if nobody is prepared to start using other forms of payment, how will things change away from the need to pay for everything in cash? If anybody has any answers to this, please let me know, I'd be very interested!