Funny Money

Funny Money

One of the curiosities about travel - sometimes it is fun, sometimes it is maddening - is the money. Conversion rates, deciphering the value of a bill, making sure you have enough to get you to the next country, but not too much, so you don't lose money on the transfer back, etc. etc. And then there is the actual notes; I'm just totally enamored by just about all paper money I see, not because of its value, but because of what it says about the culture.

This money-aspect of travel was really punctuation while crossing the Cambodian border yesterday morning. The Cambodian currency unit is the riel, with an approximate conversion rate of 4,000 to the US dollar. The US dollar is widely accepted, though, and often prices are even quoted in it. Well, in anticipation of this, I converted the remainder of my Thai baht (except a few choice bills for my collection) into US dollars. When we got to the border, the border police refused to accept dollars for the [exorbitant] visa fee. So it was back to an ATM to get out baht.

The motos that met us off the ferry to give us a ride into town (Sihanoukville) quotes prices in baht. We then tried to covert that to dollars, because we had no baht. Since we didn't have correct change in dollars, we converted the amount to riels, which we picked up at a roadside money changer. All in all, it makes for some interesting commerce.

So having traveled for the past 10 weeks, I'm getting quite the stack of foriegn currency. In my wallet, currently, I have 6 different currencies: US dollar, Thai baht, Cambodian riel, Chinese yuan, Hong Kong dollar, and Macau pataca. But don't get any ideas. The sum total of all these is prolly no more than $50.

Yes, I realize this is a very pertainent post, it coming on the heels of National Buy Nothing Day and all.

Sunday November 26 2006File under: travel, Cambodia

Toggle Comments (4)comment?
on Sun 26th Nov, 2006 09:49 am UTC Saxtor said:
I missed the semi-tradition of geocaching on BND, and infact I did buy breakfast, but it was my last opportunity to see BJ, and it was a local restaurant (and thus not exactly furthering consumer culture), so I managed to semi-justify it. However, nothing was spent the rest of the day. BND is def one of my favorite holidays.
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on Tue 28th Nov, 2006 09:24 am UTC trista said:
boy, am i a loser. i've never even heard of 'National Buy Nothing Day'.
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on Wed 29th Nov, 2006 07:32 am UTC lani said:
Christen told me about your blog. Your photos are wonderful! and descriptions of the 'it' and experiencing the 'now'...yes~thank you for sharing.
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on Wed 06th Dec, 2006 01:04 am UTC steve studer said:
Speaking of money,it was great to go to Europe and not have to change money every day.100 trinidad dollars are worth 16 us.We walk around with this huge wad of cash all the time/
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