Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dirty Money

For weeks the bank has been refusing to give out any 1,000 notes.

Worth about 30p, these notes go through the wars.

When we get a 50,000 note, it's usually in relatively good condition. Chances are, as a higher value note, it has led less of an active life. It's probably been carefully slid in and out of leather wallets, handed over to pay for something luxurious in some air-conditioned environment.

1,000 shilling notes, on the other hand, have been folded up into tiny little origami packets and shoved inside of shoes, bras, even underpants. No offence to the locals but it's the denomination I hate counting. I feel so dirty after it.

The notes come to us with rips and tears and holes in. Some feel gravelly, like they are coated in sand. Others have been patched up with staples, duct tape, sellotape, whatever materials were to hand.

Because of the state these notes get into, the bank has to reissue them regularly to replace and replenish the tired old currency in circulation. So for weeks they have been smilingly accepting all our old 1,000 notes we deposit but refusing to give any back. We've had to beg and borrow bags of coin change to make up for the lack of notes. It's been a tiresome business.

But today R left the bank with an extra spring in his step. The new notes had arrived!

Four bundles of pristine 1,000 shilling notes. It was like looking out on a clean, snowy landscape, yet to be plastered in dirty, slushy footprints.

Here's a shot comparing the filthy old money to the virginial new notes and you can see just why we got so excited...

1 comment:

Dr Jude said...

ooooooo -- nothing like the smell of dirty notes. Even a whiff of it always reminds me of India. My mom had a separate section of her handbag where she stuffed those, rather than in her wallet.