Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler
In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
When in a western country, finding table salt is no big deal.
Any grocery store carries it, and usually in several varieties and brands.
Easy to find.
However, today I went looking for some table salt in Jinghong, China. In
my pocket was a packet from the airline meal that was served. Arriving at
our beer and bottled water store, I showed the owner the sealed packet, with
English on one side, and Thai written on the other. The thin young man shakes his head no. I open
the packet, and pour some in my palm to show him. Again this cautious store
owner says no. I taste it, and he still looks at me suspiciously. I put some
in his hand and he is very reluctant about it, after all it is a white
powder, and we are in a communist country and I am a foreigner. In total distaste
and with a bit of drama, he throws it on the floor.
Walking around the store there are packages of items everywhere. Are
any of them salt? I see a wall full of shelves with
white powdered substances, all labeled neatly, but they are in Chinese. I
don’t read Chinese very well, actually, I don't read it at all!
Ladies Strolling on the
Choosing my bottle of beer, and 2 bottles of water, I put
them on the counter, and point to my salt packet, motioning around the
store. This seemingly shy man says something vehemently in Chinese, of which I have no clue. I
wander around some more, and he finally shows me a clear plastic bag of
granulated sugar. At least I think it’s sugar. I say, “I don’t think so…”
and I take my tiny ripped packet of airline salt and put it to some packages
of peanuts, sunflower seeds, and miscellaneous items that look like they
would taste good with salt. The idea dawns on him. He shows me a huge bag of what
looks like MSG, ground fine like talcum powder.
We are making progress, I think. Do you realize how many bags of powdered
white stuff there are? Finding Morton’s “when it rains it pours” isn’t easy
in a foreign country.
Shaking my head no at the MSG, I say “don’t want any of that, thanks
anyway”. However, the business man in him keeps shoving sugar and MSG at me.
I say “no” politely, and point to the peanuts again, demonstrating the salt
over them and touching my tongue. Bravely now, his hand is held out again, and I put a little
salt into it. His tongue is brought to the tiny grains. Ptui! Ptui! He
spits it out. Gosh. It could be American poison for all he knew.
Soooo Many Choices!
I go back to my beer and water, and resign myself to
getting no table salt here.. While aggressively grunting noises he places
the bag of sugar on top of the bag of candy. Yes!! We have finally made a
connection here mentally. Yes, sugar and candy go together, salt and nuts go
Allowing me to put a little salt into his palm once more, this time he
actually tastes it. SALT! Adding up my items, I pay for them. Trying to make
a sale he again points
to the wall, but I say "no.. too big, that’s ok, ..whatever.."
He takes a corner of an empty plastic bag and twists it into a triangle as
if to show me the amount I am searching for,
looks at me eagerly, now wanting to please. I say, “ok” - I mean, how much
is something that big gonna cost me, even if it’s the wrong white powdered
substance? Leaving the store with me in it, and all his cash and items
unprotected, I wait. And
wait another minute. I try to look innocent and well behaved. I mean,
I‘m in a Communist country here, and they have police everywhere, even when
you can‘t see them, right?
English? Anything in
The man returns shortly, with a blue plastic bag, seeming very proud of
himself. I make a motion as to “how much”? and he thinks I want to taste it.
I say ok. I taste it, and it is SALT!!! Amazing. Again, I ask how much it
is, and he waves his hand, generously, “it’s nothing” and is so gratified
with himself for solving the riddle… and now I have some table salt to take
home. Success!! Even the most common searches can become an
adventure in China.
About the Authors
information about financial independence and travel, visit our
and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their world travels.
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About Billy & Akaisha