2007/01/29

Money Exchange

Emirates Today has a story about Russians with large amounts of cash. This reminds me of the first time I went to one of the many money changers here.

My first morning here in Al Ain, I changed about $40 into dirhams at the hotel, then went out to look around the city. After a while, I caught a cab to Al Ain Mall and stopped at on exchange next to Mega Mart to swap the rest of my dollars. There were a group of five or six men standing at the counter, so I got in line behind them. One of the men was talking to the clerk very loudly and heatedly. (I recognized now that it was just haggling, but the man seemed genuinely angry to me then.) After going back and forth for a few minutes, the man nodded, slapped the counter and gestured for one of the other men to step up. He took a bag off his shoulder and unzipped it and started laying huge stacks of $20 bills on the counter.

I have no idea how much money they exchanged, but it had to have been nearly $100,000. The clerk even made some joke to them about it being mafia money. They then left and I felt really silly turning in my $200 for dirhams after that.

1 comment:

rosh said...

My good friend in SHJ, runs a rental car business. A Russian customer who rented a car from his shop (this was in 2002) left behind $45,000 in cash in the rental car.

I have heard several stories on Russians carrying cash around and inadvertently forgetting the monies in hotels, rental cars and cabs, but never figured why they carry so much cash?

I thought there were rules/restrictions on the amount of monies one can bring into the UAE i.e. in the US it is $10k.