It’s the small things

28 06 2014

I felt absurdly pleased with myself. A whole $100 in NEW dollar bills! Now THAT was something to feel good about. But it had taken a bit of doing.

Dollar notes in Zimbabwe (the US type, our dollars disappeared towards the end of 2008 in a deluge of hyper inflation) are notoriously dirty and not that easy to come by. I keep the worst to give to the toll gates who cannot refuse them and really don’t have the time to quibble either. So when I find a source of them I exploit it. Like my local pharmacy where I deliberately hand over larger notes than necessary to get clean dollars back. Then I started to get suspicious; the pharmacy ALWAYS seemed to have new dollar notes.

Karyn looked slightly embarrassed “We get them from CBZ”.

“But also bank there and I can never get them”.

Now she looked a lot more embarrassed “Actually we don’t even bank there, we just go and get the change at lunch time”.

I pounced on this clue and called in to get the wages in the afternoon after gym. The teller gave me my breakdown but had only a few $5 notes.

“You can give me all the smaller stuff in ones if you like” I added helpfully (and hopefully).

She pulled out a bundle of truly revolting notes. I made a face.

“I will see what else we have” she said and went off and came back with a bundle of new $1s. Delighted I gathered up the stack of notes and asked for a rubber band (rekken in local lingo).

“Are you always needing new notes?” she asked.

“Oh yes please!” I responded. And another bundle of new dollar notes magically appeared.

Suddenly the afternoon looked really good.


I love the web address!

I love the web address!

Crisp and clean - not for long!

Crisp and clean – not for long!

New money

19 12 2012

“Can I also get one of those?” I asked the teller as she brought out an in-the-plastic brick of new $1 notes.

“Of course” she replied, somewhat surprised.

I was getting the Christmas wages from the bank and as usual the breakdown was being a bit problematic, though not on the smaller denominations which is the usual issue. $1 notes are notoriously disgusting in Zimbabwe and quite frequently fall apart. Most people offload the worst notes at the toll gates on the roads as they will always take them rather than have to look for change. I try to get 2 for 1 with the occasional new note that I have but it has yet to get any more success than the occasional laugh. So when faced with an opportunity to get an entire $100 dollars of $1 notes I could not pass it up. Maybe it is the approaching shopping period which is already clogging the local shopping malls and the banking industry is actually being proactive (to use a ghastly cliché). It could also be the Finance Ministry which is run by and ex-lawyer and not part of the ruling ZANU-PF. Maybe there is hope…

Unusual enough for a photograph!

Unusual enough for a photograph!