Friday, July 31, 2015

¡El Impuesto Gringo! (The Gringo Tax)

There sure is a lot of financial fun down here in Peru.
For instance, one of our missionaries was transferred to Huánuco, a city of about 200,000 at about 6,275 feet, right in the climatic "sweet spot."  Being from Ecuador, he wasn't aware of the local slang, including the idea that "luca china" meant 1.5 Peruvian soles.  When he and his companion hailed a local moto taxi and asked the driver the cost to go to ____, the driver answered "luca china."
"No!" stomped the missionary, "I'm not paying more than two soles!!"
"Uh, OK," said the bemused driver, "You win."
If you thought the lines at your bank made you tired of waiting, you ain't seen nothing like the ones down here.  
Because of a lot of counterfeiting, every person accepting money knows to check about eight things that tip them off to the fake stuff.
There is also an unofficial, but always-present Gringo Tax, which is gleefully collected by any and all Peruvians.  And I don't think that they report it to anyone.  I don't think...
For instance, if the usual fare for the taxi from the office to the house is four soles; when you add the Gringo Tax, that's five or six soles.
When you want to buy raspberries at the market, they are 5 soles, UNLESS you are obviously a North American, in which case, ¡ching! a 5 soles Gringo Tax is applied. And probably not reported.
With individual missionary interviews for four days this week in Huanuco, Paula would walk a block down to get a bottle of water.  The first day, it was one sol.
However, Oooops!  The proprietor had forgotten to add the PFS (Peruvian Foreigner Surcharge)! She did so the next day, with nary a word of explanation.  When Paula questioned the 50% rise in price in 24 hours, she received a Duh! look.  It was the Gringo Tax, fool!  
We hope that in whatever country you reside, the Impuesto Gringo is not excessive.
Dave & Paula

PS  So, like, how do they know I'm a Gringo?  Huh?