Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Money, money, money!

Ah.. the joys of Indonesian currency. The local currency is the Rupiah. Not be confused with the Rupee, which is used in India.

As of today, the exchange rate quoted by Yahoo! is Rp10,000 = RM3.50 (approximately USD$1). So when I walk about shops trying to get a feel for the cost of living as compared to KL, I multiply by three and move decimal points accordingly. Right? Right??? *blur look on face* I'm going to need a calculator soon. At the moment, I look a bit like a dodo in the shops because I'm usually found standing in front of a price sign, frowning intently as I multiply numbers in my head and lose track of the decimal points.
I was in a cab the other day and paid for my fare of Rp14,276 with a Rp50,000 note. As I waited for my change, I started subtracting my fare to gauge how much change I could expect... and predictably, I lost count of the numbers in my head. I gave up and simply pocketed whatever change the cabbie gave me, I figured he could do with a tip anyway.

The rupiah comes in denominations of Rp1,000, Rp5,000, Rp10,000, Rp20,000, Rp50,000 and Rp100,000. I've only yet to see the Rp100,000 note. Since Rp10,000 is worth only USD$1, you end up with a wallet full of notes that can't buy you much. It's a bit like Monopoly money really except that you can't buy a hotel on Mayfair with the rupiah. Unless you have LOTS and LOTS of it.

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