September 01, 2011

In Which I tip $66.66

Here in Lebanon I dole out 1,000 banknotes on a daily - and some days on an hourly – basis.
2,000 LBP for the parking, 5,000 LBP for the valet parking, 1,000 LBP for the boy that packs your groceries, 3,000 LBP for the man that brings a gas tank to your house, 2,000 LBP for the Burger King delivery boy (yes, you can have Burger King delivered to your house here), and on and on you go.

It’s the economy of the thousands. A thousand, for the non-locals amongst you – equals 66 US cents, or €0.47. A 1,000 pound banknote is small, a bit like Monopoly money, and green. And I got my wallet full of them.

Now yesterday I noticed, while organizing my wallet, that one of the green bills was slightly larger. Just a tad bit. And a bit darker green. Just a tad bit. I’m thinking, ‘Wow, I’ve got a misprint.’ And misprints are worth money.

Upon further inspection however, I noticed that it had a whole lot more zeroes too! It turns out it is our new bank note of 100,000 Lebanese pounds.

I think you know where this is going, right? Need I explain much more?

Yesterday I handed out a 1,000 to the supermarket boy, who packs my groceries, 2,000 to the parking attendant at the Alfa company, 3,000 to a donation box for orphans at the crossing from downtown into Hamra (they caught me at the traffic lights) and 3,000 tip for a dinner outside.

This morning, I am going through my wallet. I cannot find the 100,000 bill anymore, and I am absolutely certain that I did not pay with a 100,000 note yesterday.

Which makes me come to the conclusion that one of the 1,000 pound (or 66 cents) bills I handed out, was actually a 100,000 ($66.66).

Now which infinite idiot designed that new 100,000 Lebanese pound bank note? Which ape, which notorious imbecile? How on earth could he (has to be a man, women would have figured out this dilemma) make it identical to the 1,000 pound note, both in color and size?

Choose another color, will ya!
This picture is not related to this post. It is a picture my dad took in Beirut somewhere in the fifties. Who knew that his daughter, who wasn’t even born yet, would eventually end up living here? Does anyone have any idea where this is?


PepsiCanPat said...

hehehe It's great to have you back! well I guess you'll have to file this under the cost of getting a nice story for the blog.

I always wondered how such mixups don't happen more often with USDs which are all the same. I guess people are more careful with their greens.

As for your picture, for once I have no clue where that is :( But that never stopped me :-)

I noticed the pic is mirror flipped and when I reverse it I can read "kanajian optique". A quick google search points me to two current branches one in jdeideh and the other in hamra. I called to see if they have always been there and if there is a church near by but no one answered so the shop has probably closed for the day.

I would have to guess that is in Jdeideh but really I have no idea. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

lol. First off, welcome back.

Next time you're dealing with the same suspects, find out who's extra super nice to you. That would be your culprit. Wrestle them to the ground, and demand your 999,000LBP back.

As for the picture, I love old Beirut pictures. If you haven't run across this web album, here's the link. beautiful old pictures.

my Favorite is #89. A bit before my time, but I still remember having to wear these school uniforms (except ours were blue) and the nuns would inspect them every day for cleanliness.

Anonymous said...

the link got all screwed up :(

I'll figure out how to create a small link this evening, and will repost.

Anonymous said...

Here's the short link for the previous post.

Yea, yea, I know. Its 99,000 not 999,000. That's what happens when you're posting from work during a boring conference call.

sorry about the multi-posts.

Sietske said...

PepsiCanPat ,
Wow, good hunting. My guess would be in the Hamra/downtown area, because he either stayed at the Palm Beach or the Riviera, no idea how he would wander all they way off to Jdeideh. They are flipped, I guess, because my brother scanned them from old slides. He's got some pictures too of those days, but those are all black and white, just the slides are in color.

yep, but those kids in 89, you still see them! My son's first year in school was at the Ecole Universelle Libanaise, if I am correct. It was run by a lovely nun. I remember she asked me to buy a 'marjoul', a sort of overall, but in dress form. By the way,. they always say Beirut was the Pearl of the Middle East, but if you look at those pictures, it was shabby way back then as well. I like shabby, but I had expected it to be all neat and clean, with perfect architecture. Well, if you see #36, and 37 and 38, nothing has changed really.

Anonymous said...

"maryoul". That's the word. Thank you. I couldn't recall what these uniforms were called, and it's been bugging me ever since I posted my comment.
After being away for over 30 years, Lebanese words don't come to me easily any more.

Anonymous said...

The picture looks like St Louis Church in Downtown Beirut:

Sietske said...

Dear anonymous;
YES, that's the one!! (St Louis Church in Downtown) Thanks!!

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