Thursday, July 11, 2013

Looking for New and Crispy USD

While doing my research on Myanmar, I read with concern that USD must be new and crispy, with no creases or other blemishes. In addition to USD100 and USD50 notes, readers were also advised to bring small USD bills such as USD1, USD5 and USD10 to pay for hotels, airlines and entrances to tourist sites.

I had with me sufficient USD100 and USD50 which I managed to obtain in Port Moresby. However, I did not have the small bills and I was unable to obtain them in Port Moresby.

Now, I am from small town Sibu. I checked with the two money changers there, i.e Yewon and Segi Bintang Ganjaran prior to departing for Yangon. No luck! They did not have new crispy USD and no small notes. Earlier, I was in Kuching on the way back from Port Moresby and there was insufficient USD at the lone money changer operating at Tun Jugah shopping complex.

There was one last place I could check and my last chance to find the small bills, i.e. at the airport in Kuala Lumpur. When I arrived at Airasia Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) from Sibu, I went straight to change my USD100 bills to the small notes. Both money changers there shook their heads. I could not believe it! Did they mean they did not have the small bills or they did not want to change my USD100 bills to smaller bills! They did not say anything, just the negative response. I suspected that they did not want to change my USD100 bills because they would not make any money by doing that.

I bid my time and when I saw a different counter clerk at one of the money changers, I inquired with her. She told me that she could not change the large denominated USD to smaller bills with me but I could buy them. My guess was right. Now, I did not want to buy more USD because I had enough of the currency with me already. Under this circumstance, I had no choice but to pull out my Malaysian Ringgit (from my wallet and ATM) and bought another USD200, which I requested to be given in small clean bills.

How crispy and clean should the USD be? Bloggers have described them as followed:

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I had bills in the following conditions. 

Guess which were not accepted!

The USD10 which was my deposit with OK Travels and Tours was initially accepted but when the tickets were delivered to me, I was asked to replace it.

The USD20 was rejected by White House Hotel where I stayed when I tried to pay for my final night's stay.

As far as I could see, there was no crease, no spot, no tear nor folding lines in both bills. The only reason I could offer was both bills did not "feel" crispy new. The "new" here means the feel of freshly minted notes, not the year.

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