Saturday, May 14, 2011


I always find foreign money something of a novelty. I took out some US dollars before the trip, which do not seem like “real money” at all. By the time I’d landed in Africa the notes had all crumpled and looked like they were about to fall apart.

I bought a coffee in Johannesburg airport – they happily accept US currency, but can only give change back in local money. I’m not sure how it worked out, but I paid $5US for my coffee and received 50c South African in change. I also discovered that the 50c was magnetic when I found it later stuck to my MP3 player.

Withdrawing some cash from an ATM in Lilongwe, Malawi, I was fascinated by the K500 notes (500 Malawi Kwacha), the largest denomination I’d ever seen ... until we crossed the border into Zambia and I withdrew K200,000 from my account (about $40AUD) and was rewarded with K50,000 notes. Amazing!

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