Monday, October 31, 2011


As Wu Tang astutely rapped once upon a time, cash rules everything around me.  C.R.E.A.M. is certainly in effect in Jakarta...  most places are cash only establishments; credit cards are used sparingly, and only at fancier joints.

The U.S. dollar is equivalent to approximately 8,800 Indonesian rupiah, making day-to-day transactions an exciting exercise in quick off-the-top-of-your-head multiplication.

Here's how the bills break down:

It seems like the ATMs generally spit out the 100,000 rupiah bills, which are useful at restaurants and stores, but not so good in taxis, as most drivers won't give you change for them.  As a result, you end up hoarding the small bills since taxi rides are at least a thrice-a-day occurrence in Jakarta.  Damn those hundies.  They're really only equivalent to about $11 US dollars right now. The 10,000 rupiah bills are about $1.15 and the 1,000 is worth 11 cents, so you've really got to be paying attention to your zeros when you hand over your dolla dolla bills, y'all.

I think I've used change once since I got here, but I've got a lot of it!  The 200 rupiah coins are worth about 2 cents and the 500s are 5-6 cents.

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