Pesos or Dollars ?
"Hey! Do you know what this is called, huh? It's called <paper>"
Post officer turns down my 2 peso bill with anger.
Oh, I should describe the situation for you. I asked him the price of stamp
for mailing to Japan. He said "2(Dos)" So I paid 2 pesos. Then
suddenly, he got anger.
I should have paid 2 USD.
The double price tag system in Cuban Peso and US dollar was really complicated.
The exchange rate was fixed in 20 pesos for 1USD. Usually, a shop keeper
never tell the money unit. So if I was told just "2", I got start
guessing whether it means 2 pesos (= 10 US cents) or 2 USD. I had guessed
20 cents for the stamps but the correct answer was 2 dollars.
For example in Havana, eating a sodden pizza at a restaurant around famous
hotels, it's about 5 dollars. On the other hand, eating a meat sauce spaghetti
without meat in the old town, it might be 25 cents. Actually, there is
no difference in the bad taste. But 5 Dollars and 25 cents are big difference.
A couple of days later, I went to the movie theater for seeing latest movie.
At the ticket box, I was told just "2" as usual. "Well,
movie ticket ... it might be 2 dollars" I guessed. So I gave 2 dollars
to the woman in a ticket box. But, she gave it back to me and said "2
pesos" "My goodness! I missed again" No more mistake could
be forgiven to me. Or I could become a loser....
I went to a market for buying a small lock for baggage. I asked the price
and was said "3" I was so confused. The tiny China made lock
looked either 15 cents or 3 dollars. I had totally lost self confidence.
So I asked her in small voice. "3 ... Pesos ... ?" The old woman
had thought for a while then answered in small voice "Dolares"
"Tres Hombres" Cienfuegos, Cuba 1998
A little talk with Mr.K vol.2