Adventures in Asia

by Greg & Francie

Money changes everything

Look at all the money!  As I said in the earlier post, Myanmar is just crazy about how they handle U.S. money.  There are no ATM machines, no changing of travel checks, and pretty much no currency is accepted except the good ol, easily counterfeited, U.S. dollar. 

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Now the Burmese people are very paranoid about counterfeit bills and I guess, well, bill hygiene to be exact.  The bills must be super crisp and cannot be written on, folded, ear marked–they also believe that the bills starting with the CB serial ‘number’ have been counterfeited by North Korea and will not accept them.  

The Burmese love the greenback here (and they particularly love Mr. Andrew Jackson)–in fact, they seem to get a little disappointed when you want to pay in Kyat (the local currency).   We changed 200 US today and above is the stack of Kyat we got in return.  The going rate is about 1250 Kyat to 1 US dollar.  So that means we got a stack of 1000 Kyat bills!

Just to put things in perspective–out on the street Francie and I wanted a sugar cane drink (did I mention how freakin hot it is?) that they make by running sugar cane plants through a type of grinder (you can sometimes see this in Laos as well).  They add some ice and a little flavor of your choice into a plastic baggy with a straw and you are on your way.  All that effort is 200 kyat.

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A bottle of their STAR cola (like RC cola) or CRUSHER (orange fanta) costs 200 Kyat.  The real coca cola costs about 1000 Kyat.

Tonight we are going to Chinatown for some stall food (hopefully Dim Sum) and then to a teashop.  Teashops are quite popular here due to a combination of the Indian and Chinese influences on the region. 

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April 12, 2007 - Posted by | burma, Misc, SE Asia, Travel

2 Comments »

  1. A note on changing money at the market – Greg and I didn’t know what to expect – would there be a booth? A sign somewhere? How would we find it? This shows how little we know about the so called “black” market for currency. It turns out that you walk in and all the money changers come find you. How convenient.

    Comment by francie | April 12, 2007 | Reply

  2. Re: the title of this post: I have “She’s So Unusual” on vinyl.

    Also: hey, cool adventures in Asia!

    Comment by ben | April 13, 2007 | Reply


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