Solving the New Cash Problem (Over Wine and Cheese) For Central Asia Tour

With only a week to go, Carol and I figured we better get our cash together so we made plans to meet at Carol’s place to see if, between us, we could come up with $3,000 worth of new bills in the appropriate denominations.

You can look out over Milennium Park to the Lake from the deck of Carol’s condo in the heart of downtown Chicago. Carol spread the money on the round patio table in neat piles of ones, fives, and twenties. For a change the “windy” city was without wind and we felt confident a breeze wouldn’t come along to scatter our hard found cash over the green rooftops below. The
glasses of Shiraz were set to one side. The tens, fifties and hundreds remained in their respective envelopes at our respective seats since we each had enough of those.

Carol began counting softly—one-two-three-four-five, one-two-three-four-five--handing each set of five over to me for verification. The one dollar bills were the worst. They stuck together and we wished we had the rubber fingers that bankers use. Strangely the fives and twenties didn’t seem to be as sticky. It seemed as if they were made of a different material.

The ones and fives that Carol had brought me were still wrapped and I appreciated getting them. In return I gave her the not-so-good ones and fives that I had bought from the banks that I had gone to previously. She would return these along with the tens, fifties and hundreds I didn’t need to the bank the next day. Then came the twenties. Carol had 30 new bills. We split them. Then we went through both of our piles of not so good bills, selected the best ten and split them.

We’d done it. Or so we hoped.

Time for the wine, the Wisconsin cheese that I had brought from my last trip to Galena, and the bruchetta Carol had picked up at Mariannas.  We looked out at the lake and toasted “The Cash Economy.”

Filed under: Central Asia

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