Monnaie (Monday, 2010 September 6)

September 6, 2010

Coins. The flash wasn’t quite right on most of the photos I took of them. I ended up taking this picture with the camera upside down to get a decent exposure, and then rotated the picture. The smaller coins are the 5 CFA/10 CFA pieces. In terms of size, the 50 CFA coin is about the size of a nickel, and the "gold ring" 100 CFA coin is about the size of a quarter. The slightly bigger silver coin next to that is an older format of 100 CFA coin. The biggest coin of all is the "big format" 25 CFA piece, which is probably about the size of a silver dollar. On the other side, the 10 CFA coin is about the size of a dime, and it looks adorable after a few months of handling 50/100 CFA coins.

The smaller the currency here, the more useful, with 100 CFA being the most useful and large bills, like 5,000 and 10,000, being a pain in the ass to break. Most vendors you interact with day-to-day work at the scale of 50-150 CFA. (Today I bought two begniets and a caramel for 75 CFA.) In case of big bills, it’s useful to ask "Avez-vous la monnaie pour …?" ("Do you have change for …?") Monnaie can also mean coinage in general, like the word "change" in English.

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