Indian money makes me happy. Or, rather– lest you think I’ve sunk to the depths of materialism– I should say that Indian currency makes me happy. It’s not I’m happy to have the money, but rather that I’m happy to be carrying a wallet full of a rainbow of colorful, smiling Gandhis (that’s the plural form of Gandhi, mind you!). I mean, c’mon: if this was in your wallet, you’d be smiling, too.
It’s not that particularly like the rupee as a currency– in fact, in terms using it to pay for things, it borders on being rather annoying, but, well, there’s a certain fun to it just the same. It’s fun because, well, you never know what you’ve got, or what you’re going to get. The bills, which come in smiling-Gandhi denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 rupees are color coded, and in increasing sized. Or, mostly– except for that one 500 rupee bill that I got from the ATM that was the 100 rupee color, not the 500 rupee color. And, no, it’s not a fluke, either.
But the coins are where it really gets fun. Sagar admits disappointment at discovering that rupees weren’t, in fact, shiny gems, gained by fighting monsters and killing chickens, as in Zelda, but rather dull silver colored coins, although the procedure for getting rupees is much the same (pressing the right series of buttons), but at an ATM, rather than on a Nintendo… Although not little, shiny gems, the rupee coins (which come in 1, 2, and 5 rupee denominations) are rather fun– not only because they’re relatively large, and make a satisfying “clink” sound in an empty pocket, but also because they’re pretty random. The new 1 rupee coins are actually marginally smaller than the 1 rupee coins, but since there’s about 6 different 1 and 2 rupee coins floating around, well… the only way to tell which is which is to flip it to the side with the numeral and take a look– size is of no help. But that just adds to the fun of it. =)
Of the currencies I’ve encountered, the Thai baht is far and away my favorite. It’s amazingly simple– three coins, four bills– and amazingly sensible. The both coins and bills increase in size increase according to value. Thus, a 10 baht coin is larger than a 5 baht coin. Imagine that. And not only do the bills get larger as their denominations increase, but they’re sensibly color-coded. Every 500 baht bill is the same color. Red. And it’s the only bill that’s red. Imagine that. The 20 baht bill is green. The 100, blue. The 1000, white. It’s almost as though someone thought about the currency system, before the mints went into operation.
And then there’s the fact that every coin is meaningful. 1 baht isn’t worth much, but it’s still valuable. 20 baht is enough for a cheap meal. 20 pennies is enough to make your pocket heavy. And, unless you’ve got some greenbacks to go with that 20 cents, that’s about all 20 pennies is enough for.
Singapore was just a mess. They have more coins and bills than the United States. Coins in 1,5,10,20 and 50 cents, bills at 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100… Singapore dollars. Talk about confusing!
And then there’s the Cambodian riel. The current exchange rate for the riel to the US dollar is about 4,000 to 1. And they have 100 riel bills. Yeah. That’s a bill for fourth of a cent. And they don’t have coins– or, rather, the riel takes the place of the coins, since most transactions are done in US dollars. It was rather weird being Cambodia, and using US dollars for every purchase, and getting my change in riel. At least they have the sense not to use the ridiculous system of American coins.
So. I love the rupee, just for being … almost adventurous. And I respect the Thai baht for making sense. And I wish– oh I wish– that America would finally buck up to inflation and get rid of that annoying penny. I must say, being penniless (heh, so to speak) for the last 6 months has been rather pleasant.
To combat the recent influx of spam in the comments section, I’ve once again returned to Pliny for another round of updates.
I realize, last round, that many of you may have been scratching your head when I noted that you can edit your comments. Well, silly me, I somehow mixed up > with < (um, yeah), so that you would need to travel at least seven days into the past to be able to change your comments. That's fixed now.
More to the point, anonymous posting is still allowed (although Pliny now has a configuration option to easily disable it) but I can now “nuke” a comment– delete it, and ban the IP of the person who posted it, with a single click.
Hopefully, after I ban a couple IPs, it’ll stop being a problem. If the problem continues, I’ll start banning groups of IPs… and if that doesn’t fix the problem, well…