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    Indonesian Smokescreen


    Not worth the paper its printed on

    March 30th, 2007 by mary

    Zimbabwe is so messed up. They have a crazed ruler that has scorched the farmland to pave the way for foreign tourists leaving the residents homeless and the country lacking in vegetables and fruit. He has reinvented the currency multiple times, revaluing it on a daily basis. The official rate was 250 Zim dollar to 1 USD. A banana is 700 Zim dollars, a bottle of soda 3000. The black market when we showed up was 6,500:1. Ten days later we got 10,000:1. A restaurant owner exasperated that prices had gone up 168% in the last two months. By June the rate was expected to change by the hour at which point he’d pack up and go fishing. The notes themselves are a joke. The largest bill is 10,000 the smallest I saw was 2 so people carry plastic bags of money around to buy a loaf of bread. Of course, once you exchange to Zim dollars you cannot change it back. The paper currency look like monopoly money I used to play with twenty years ago. On every bill it has the validity date of August 2006 and expiration of July 2007 right above the words ‘Bearer’s Cheque’. Given these conditions it is mind boggling how the residents are able to cope and yet they seem to. Most people try to get hard currency like USD or Euros, or they don’t save at all but rather spend money as soon as they get it for items they can sell later. Zimbabwe ended up being a very cheap country for us to travel though but there was so little available to buy. Getting eggs meant hiking all over town going from one empty shelf to another. There was no bread for a while because that week the mills in the country were making wheat meal. And yet between Antelope Park and Victoria Falls it was one of our favorite countries.
    Mary laundering our money after we had a bit of a run in with a roudy group of drunks and a swimming pool

    Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

    3 Responses

    1. Dad Says:

      did you have enough room in your backpacks for all the money you needed

    2. steve Says:

      Funny you say that. On the previous trip for our guide they were still using the old currency. She exchanged around $1000USD and was given two big trashbags full of Zimbabwe notes. Even now the biggest bill we could get was a $10,000 note – that’s $10USD. We saw a lot of people with their money in plastic shopping bags instead of wallets.

    3. Dan Says:

      20 years since you’ve played Monopoly, really?

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