Q: What’s the first thing you acquire after arriving in a foreign land?
A: Local currency!
I am a big fan of local currency, and not just for its practical purposes. Money is pretty great for its souvenir value and can be a vacation treasure in its own right. It proves you have been to a particular far off land and is an object central to the economy and culture of the place you’ve visited.
My first glimpse of foreign currency was a Canadian dollar at Niagara Falls. I was pretty young then and had yet to understand that not everybody in the world used American money. Needless to say, it was an exciting realization.
So, long story short: money is cool. Different looking money is even cooler.
Most of my readers are from the U.S., and I think the biggest complaint about American currency (aside from never having enough of it) is that its pretty dull, especially compared to some of the flashier, more colorful currency out there (why hello there, Venezuela!).
Venezuela aside, Australian currency makes a pretty good showing on the color (ahem, colour) front:
In addition to being pretty, the Australian bills are made of plastic and have a transparent window. The notes are known as ‘dollars’ and the exchange rate is nearly 1:1 with the U.S. Dollar right now. As for the coins, the $1 and $2 coins are pretty handy (making me wish the $1 coin would take off in the U.S.!).
One last interesting note, the 1 and 2 cent coins were taken out of circulation in the 1990’s, which, as a faithful ‘lucky penny’ collector, makes me just a little sad. I guess I’ll have to switch to the 5 cent pieces as my conduits for luck…that is unless you wouldn’t mind picking a lucky up for me every so often! 😉