Saturday, August 12, 2006

The 7th good thing about Lagos: No coins to weigh you down!

Nigerian money is called naira and they just have bills -- no coins. We get our money exchanged by giving American money to our driver and he gets naira on the black market. It's the accepted way to exchange money. At the airport parking lot I saw many men with suitcases full of naira on the hoods of their cars waiting to exchange money for newcomers. I asked the security guy that was with me if they worried about having that much money out in the open and he just laughed and shook his head. I imagine the traders have their own variety of security. I gave my driver a $100 bill the other day and got 13,000 naira, so a dollar is currently worth about 130 naira. So the 5 naira bills I have are not worth much at all. In fact, Brent said that he heard that the 5 naira bills cost 8 naira to produce! Because you can't use credit or debit cards here safely, we usually end up carrying large wads of bills. I need to do as someone as I saw in the grocery store, and get a plastic envelope to carry bills in -- I don't want to put them in my wallet. Most of them are really filthy. I don't want to think about where they've been! I always use hand sanitizer after handling the money!


Julie said...

My husband say he does the money exchange himself. Would you say it is unsafe for a women to do exchange money?

Carolee said...

Hi Julie! I usually have my driver exchange the money for convenience, but I sometimes will do it myself with the traders, usually at one of the big hotels where the moneychangers set up business. I kind of enjoy seeing the process and I think we get the same rate either way as well. I've never felt that it was unsafe.