The weather focus said it was going to rain today so we dressed up with that in mind. When we stepped out of the hotel building, a strong cold wind blew in our direction; Pemmy looked up to me and said, ‘mummy, it’s windy’(ahahah, oloyinbo). As we entered the train, we noticed that the usual dressing of bum shorts and spaghetti tops had been replaced with sweat shirts, cardigans and ankle length trousers. Some held umbrellas while some already wore their rain coats.
As the train moved along, LOA and I noticed that dollar had gone up, 260 forints to a dollar, yipee! It was definitely a good time to change money.
As soon as we settled Nimmy into her class, Pemmy, LOA and I decided to go out and change some money. We bumped into Nayo and Wendy’s mum and we told them we were going to change money. Nayo said we should try the exchange shops at Moricz Zsigmond. Now Moricz Zsigmond is quite far from where we were but because we had bought transport tickets for a month we were not afraid of going anywhere. (Our tickets could take us on the buses and train and it cost only nine thousand forints per person. Nimmy and Pemmy were exempted from paying for their fare as they were regarded as infants and the country also exempts senior citizens from 67 years.)
As we sat in the train we meticulously watched out for currency exchange rates display boards in front of currency exchange shops (bureau de change is British English but its known as currency exchange here). Some boards showed 260 forints to a dollar, some showed 261 without commission. When we got to Blahaj train stop we saw a currency exchange board that showed 262 forint per dollar. I asked LOA if we should get down but he said we should simply get to Moricz Zsigmond to fulfil all righteousness because of when next we want to change money. When we finally got to Moricz Zsigmond, LOA saw an exchange display board which he thought read 264 forints per dollar but we wanted to get to the particular one we were referred to. By this time Pemmy had fallen asleep and LOA had to carry her on his shoulders. When we finally got to the two places we were referred to, (the two shops were beside each other) the first shop was 261.3 forint while the second was 261.4. LOA and I hissed. Imagine coming all the way when we saw better deals. We trekked back to the bus stop where LOA said he saw 264 forint per dollar. When we got there, we realized that it was the buying rate. The selling rate was actually 260 with commission. Haba! Our ijebu don do. We quietly walked back to the last place (that had two exchange shops side by side)
LOA asked me to decide which one we should buy from, remember the difference is very insignificant. The one that had a difference of .1 lower had no one in front of the shop but the one that had a difference of .1 higher had three people in front of the queue. I have a rule I use when deciding to buy food from fast food joints in food courts in malls, (food courts usually have more than six different food vendors together in a place) I go for the vendor that has the most customers. I believe there is something they are doing differently.
At that moment, we didn’t even know the commission for each shop. We asked the woman in front of us but she couldn’t speak English but the old man in front of her could so he told us 0.3% each. Then I asked him so why are people standing here when the difference is insignificant. He said because we are all poor people and we are looking for the best rates. The rich don’t do that, he said. They just buy. LOA and I laughed at ourselves but how do we now leave the line and go to the other shop to prove we are not poor since the man that made the statement was still on the same queue. The old man reading our mind came close to us and asked us to leave the line, he said because he was not even there for forex. We smiled at him and walked to the other shop and bought forint.
After all, the man was saying the truth if we had plenty money we would simply make the exchange at our hotel. Well, (in Jenifa’s voice) me I don’t count myself as poor sha o, I am just looking for the best rate, that’s all.
We got down at West End shopping mall and trekked down to the orthopedic shop, (the orthopedic shop was in between two train stations) we didn’t find anything to buy for Nimmy so we left. On our way back we stopped at a Lebanese shop; we ate Lebanese bread and chicken kebabs. Even though I didn’t allow them to put the mustards and the soups it still had a little bitter/sour after taste!