Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Brother can you spare 123 tughrik?

Mongolian currency has no coins, only bills. This can lead to a deceptively thick wallet. (I bet Mongolian men have a higher rate of back problems because their wallets are so fat.) For example, the photo above depicts 1,065 tughrik on the left, and its equivalent in U.S. currency on the right: 87 cents. (The current exchange rate is 1,229 tughrik = 1 dollar.) Mongolian bills come in eleven denominations: 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1 (though I've never seen a 1 tughrik note, which is worth about 1/12 of one cent). The hard part is, every note above 100 is the same size and features the same portrait (of Chinggis Khaan, naturally), so they are notoriously difficult to tell apart. Each denomination is a slightly different color, but with especially worn bills it's hard to tell.

Speaking of money, I have found a job! I will be working as an editor for the English version of the Mongolian news website news.mn. It's only part-time, but I will be working mainly with Mongolians, which should help me pick up the language more quickly. And, I don't mean to brag, but my weekly salary will be well into the six figures!