Pretty Money

Bill picked up our currency for Australia and New Zealand today. We like to arrive in a foreign country with enough cash to cover transportation to our hotel and the first couple of meals. Both of these currencies are pretty and colorful with handsome  images (several of prominent women) and intriguing security factors like transparent windows with holograms. Unfortunately the various denominations for Australia and New Zealand are exactly the same dimension and some are similar colors. So, a ten dollar Aussie note is easy to confuse with a ten dollar Kiwi note. This has me a little worried as the values are, of course, not exactly the same.

My concern stems from a very embarrassing moment in Prague last year. On our first night in town, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at a bistro near our hotel in the old center. I knew that my husband was low on cash so when the check came, I pulled out some bills. Several minutes after he picked up our cash, our waiter marched back to our table. An indignant scowl spoiled his otherwise handsome face. He sputtered as he slammed one of the notes in front of me. “A forint! A lousy forint! Worth nothing here! What are you trying to pull? Are you some crooks?”

I tried to slide under the table. Egad, I must have missed one of the 500 forint notes when we were exchanging them for koruna at the train station in Budapest. The Hungarian 500 forint and the Czech 500 koruna are very similar in size and color…but definitely not in value. Hungary has many denominations of bills and a 500 forint note is one of the smaller ones. I had proffered about $1.75 for the equivalent of twenty dollars. Oops! I stuffed the forint in my pocket and snagged a koruna from my wallet. Apologizing in French, the only language that came to mind, we slunk out of the restaurant.

For this trip, we’ll make sure to separate our Aussie and Kiwi money!


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