It’s hard to know what to expect these days. While the stock market does a number on retirement funds, the bottom has fallen out of the oil market, which takes less of a bite out of travel. While traveling this past weekend, I thought it was pretty special to buy gas for $1.99 per gallon in Cleveland, TN (even though I could only squeeze two gallons in the tank) — until we stopped in Gaffney, SC on the way home and found it for a surprising $1.93.
If only the airlines would acknowledge how much fuel prices have gone down, and give us a break on their ticket prices.
Mercantile surprises on the highway reminded me of an unexpected sight in Durban, during the Baptist World Congress. BWA officials had contracted with a single vendor to provide a big table of African arts and crafts for visitors to peruse and purchase. I talked to the owner, who bragged about how much he travels and how many big meetings invite him to be their souvenir vendor because he’s dependable and carries such a large selection of Mandela shirts, wooden masks, beaded jewelry, painted bowls, carved animals, and so forth.
What BWA folks didn’t know and many visitors may not have recognized is that his jewelry display included a selection of Rastafarian-inspired bracelets. You don’t often see those at a Baptist meeting. I doubt they would have been hot sellers, even if he’d marked the price down to 18 rand — a rough equivalent of $1.93. Even so, it’s sort of fun to imagine someone buying a handful of the colorful bracelets for his or her Sunday School class back home, not realizing that the central image was not a palm tree, but a marijuana leaf.
Now that could lead to some interesting discussions …