Traveling Spain On A Pauper’s Dime With A Purpose

One wave of a time honored medallion

The wife made A- on her two tests yesterday. I still have not resolved my issue of changing American cash to euros, and avoiding the outrageous exchange rates that I did not anticipate. Shame on me for that. The rates at the airport stateside were only 5%, not a jaw dropping thirty percent! Having an debit card would have solved my situation beautifully, however.

There are ATM machines everywhere here in Spain. Take the ones by the banks, not on the streets. People tamper with those to extract debit card numbers. I would have only been charged 4% for the exchange. All that I have was cash and a credit card. I haven’t asked the wife for an exchange yet, but I will, and soon. Let her take the increase in dollars, not some greedy, thieving pig calling himself running a business.

My next option will be a European bank, although many now demand that one have an account for them to make the currency exchange. There still exists some who do not. If all else fails, then I shall try that next. Catching one when it is open is a different concern, however. When siesta time comes, everything shuts down.

There also exists individual vendors on the street. If one offers me a better rate of exchange, then I will take him up on the offer. One must be careful doing so, since we have ran into one incidence of counterfeit currency. Inspect all currency received in such a manner very carefully before accepting it.

I would only attempt to receive 40 euros or so like this. A large amount might invite complications where the foreigner making the exchange could fall on the dirty end of the stick. At the present time I only have one euro and about 60 cents. I could buy a bag of rice and a one liter bottle of refreshment with this. Rice can get me by for more than a week, and I only have two weeks remaining.

While making such street transactions are relatively commonplace, the process is illegal, so I have been informed. Keep an eye out for the police when one is trading coins. The police should focus on the coin exchanges in business, and arrest them for outright theft, as far as I am concerned. Earning a living in Spain is more often than not, tough for average people. Allow them to provide an accommodating service that others here seem not to.

In the end, if I have no choice remaining but to take the 30% hit, then I only have one strategy remaining at my disposal. We have two weeks remaining. We have enough food at the apartment. I will wait a week before we exit out for Seville and Grenada next weekend, then simply take the hit. I may, however, use my credit card while we are there, then wait until we exit out for Greece. Maybe I can give the wife 25 US dollars, for 20 euros, and have enough to buy a few desired things while I remain here.

There is some really good looking ice cream all round, but to get a large cone is 2.80 to 3.20 euros. A really decent meal can be had here for 8-10 euros. However, I can go to the residence to the left or the right from Hall 88 on the college campus here, depending on how one comes in, and eat a fabulous buffet meal for only 6 euros. I discussed that fact of being earlier in this blog. Well made hand crafted trinkets with a time honored catholic motif can be purchased here for 5 euros, and the list goes on and on. All of these things are of an interest to me.

While I hate the idea of walking around looking dumb and feeling stupid for a week or two, the truth is when we miscalculate, all too often there is a price to pay. If doing so will get me through to the other side in relative smoothness, while still allowing me to have a reasonably pleasant experience, the so let it be. If I should land work, then my problems would be solved, eh? We’ll see in the passing of time.

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