Today, the exchange rate is nineteen pesos to a dollar.
Along the Hotel Zone strip, ATM’s, when they are working, dispense pesos and/or dollars. If you need money you don’t have, you walk, bike, or drive to a little pitched roof shack on the main road not far from the Hemingway Eco Cottages.
At the bottom of the front barred window in the shack is a little slot through which the girl inside pushes me a small cardboard box just big enough for my dollars. I push the box back through the slot and wait. Inside, she has a calculator, a money box, a chair, papers and a pen balanced on her right ear. She counts out pesos, puts them in the box along with a printed receipt on top of the money, and slides the box back out to me.
The U.S. dollar is strong today so the exchange rate is nineteen to one. The weakest currency is the Canadian dollar. The strongest currencies are the British pound and the Euro. In this money game, the more pesos you get for your dollar, the cheaper vacation you get.
When the girl in the booth sees me, I get a bright smile.
I always leave her a tip and she hasn’t made one mistake.
Is handling money all day and not getting to keep any the same as walking in the desert with a canteen and not being able to drink?