Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Can you spare some change?

If you're going to visit Ecuador, take along plenty of small-denomination bills. Ecuador now uses U.S. dollars, and apparently there aren't enough to go around. Twenty-dollar bills can be difficult to change, $50 bills a real nightmare, and $100 bills virtually impossible to spend. I took a taxi in Quito one night, and the driver couldn't break a $5 bill. I ended up having to short-change him for the $3 fare. My hotel in Quito had a fit when I presented them with a $50 bill. They had to send a bellboy running to nearby stores before they could cobble together the right change. If you only carry large bills in your wallet, you could end up on the street asking passers-by for spare change.

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