Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"You Got Skinned!"

So a really nice guy on staff let John borrow his motorbike while we sort out the vehicle-buying mess. John wanted to take Kyle for a ride on the motorbike down to the "wet market" which is basically a farmer's market. Unfortunately, we only had one helmet. The guard at the gate to our condo complex let John borrow his to take Kyle. Everyone here is SO NICE...it's really different. :)

While they were out, John stopped by a motorbike shop and bought a helmet for Kyle for RM40 (40 ringgitt which is about $11). When they got back to the condo and returned the guard's helmet, he asked how much John paid for Kyle's helmet. John told him RM40 and the guard shook his head and said "You got skinned."

Apparently, we were victims of the "skin tax" which means they charged us more because we are white. As it has been explained to us, this isn't a racist thing, it's just that Penang has a lot of expats and they tend to make quite a bit more money than the locals so it is assumed that we can afford to pay more. It's almost like a courtesy on our part...like our way of contributing to the economy.

I know it sounds kind of strange but it's true. However, we were also told that once we are here for a while and become "regulars" at different places, we will get the "local" price for things. You learn something new everyday!

1 comment:

  1. Hi guys,
    We are enjoying your blog. Matt and I arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. The weather in K.L. is especially hot and humid right now.
    I got "skinned" too when signing up for internet service (the deposit for foreigners is $300 while only $100 for locals). It is definitly not a racist thing because I am not white, and was even born in Malaysia!The same thing happened to us last year at the K.L. Bird Park - we had to pay a much-inflated "tourist" price compared to the locals. Oh, well-I guess I am helping the local economy:-)
    Love reading about all the food. Have your had your first Penang Laksa? A breakfast of roti chanai and curry is alone worth the cost of the plane ticket to Malaysia. Malaysia is food Paradise!!
    Desiree (from Brownstown, MI)