Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for USD

This post is part of the AtoZChallenge, which I'm doing on my recent trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia.

The official currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian riel. But the entire country seems to survive on US Dollars. Everybody quotes prices in dollars. The ATMs dispense cash in dollars. 

I have no idea how this works. How can two currencies work in a country? How can the Cambodian government be okay with this? What implications, if any, does this have for the US economy?

There's no doubt, of course, that this is an extremely convenient arrangement for us tourists - you see, 1 USD is about 4000 riel. So being able to carry around dollars instead of thousands of riel is convenient. And of course, instead of cents, they use riel. So if you give a dollar for a half-dollar bottle of water, you'll get 2000 riel back. 

The word 'dollar' sounds very cute in the Cambodian accent. I don't think I'll ever forget the way the vendors used to call out every time they saw me, "Laddeee! One dollaaa laddeee, one dollaaa!" 
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Unknown said...

Word. The "dollaa" thing is way too cute :)