Country number two, Vietnam, and we have what probabally be the most confusing currency of our adventure.
So far I have paid for a taxi and for breakfast and been totally bamboozled by all the zeros. Therefore here I am writing a blog post in the hope that formalising my thinking will make the conversion rate thinking stick.
From the cash machine (ATM) at the airport I got out 5,000,000 Vietnamese Dong, that’s about £173.
The cash machine gave me just 500,000 dong notes, each note is worth about £17.
With two Maths A-Levels, an Engineering degree and a love of board games you would think that numbers would be my ‘thing’ and indeed I love manipulating numbers and using spreadsheets. Interestingly, I have discovered over the past few years, that when you put a currency symbol before a number something strange happens and I no longer see these numbers in the same way.
We have been saying how much our children will learn from spending money in different countries and I am realising that I will also learn. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for me to get comfortable with the currency here.
It was different in India and I think that this is because of the numbers were much smaller and also because the exchange rate is close to a simple multiple.
Although, saying this, in India we did have to check coins very carefully each time we used them because there were at least 3 size and shapes for the 1, 2 and 5 rupee coins (see photo below), no wonder Indians prefer their bank notes to their coins!
Post blog note: It took four days to ‘acclimatise’ to the money in Vietnam and now, ten days later, I can’t believe that I struggled so much. This first four days was great learning for our children because they ‘got it’ before I did and I was able to check conversion values with them before buying something and genuinely need their help.