I just filled the gas tank on our rental car and it cost $26,502. Luckily, what looks like a dollar sign in America ia also a peso sign here in Chile and Argentina and also the symbol for a real in Brazil.
So instead of paying $26,502 for 3/4 of a tank of gas I was actually paying $61.32 in American dollars.
When you’ve bounced back and forth between three countries in two weeks, you gotta constantly remind yourself which country you’re in and which currency you’re using and what the exchange rate is. In Brazil there are 4.16 Brazilian reals to the US dollar. In Argentina there are 56.8 Argentine pesos to the US dollar. And, finally, sit down, take a deep breath, and prepare yourself the next one because in Chile there are 722 Chilean pesos to the US dollar.
Jamie will find something she wants to buy and say, “How much is this in American dollars?” Damned if I can figure it out. Where are we? What day is this? Is this the place I double it and divide by ten or the place where I multiply by 0.0014. Or was that yesterday?
I found an ATM machine today and wanted to pry a mere two hundred or so American dollars from its clutches. The photo below shows the wad of $10,000 Argentinian notes the machine spit out.
Can you imagine how your brain would seize up if an AMT offered you options starting at $20,000 and rapidly moved up to $200,000. And if $200,000 did not fulfill your fiscal needs, there’s one more button down there at the bottom of the screen that seems to challenge your masculinity by asking, “Would you like more?”
I walked away from the ATM with $200,000 in Chilean pesos. It was a wad of cash big enough to choke a vicuña.
I can tell you from personal experience that it is physically impossible to sit on a wallet holding two hundred thousand pesos without causing your sciatic nerve to swell up like a Japanese blow fish.
But it is cool to have two hundred thousand of anything in your wallet.