Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ten...and Counting

Whenever I travel to a new city that has a defined currency, different from any I have used previously, I look for a wallet there to use just for that specific currency, something that reflects the culture, the uniqueness of the city, or the country.  I don’t use plastic ziploc bags that can rip when too many coins weigh it down, and no mixing it in with my US money and having to stand at the cashier’s desk fishing out each coin, one from the other. 
When I leave on a trip, I go to my box of wallets, grab the one I need, and check to see how much currency is left over from my last trip to get me started on my next one.  I grab my wallet, toss it in my bag, and it’s a go.  My euro wallet has a perfect slip of a pouch on the backside to keep my Paris Metro tickets.  My British wallet is just large enough to store my Boots Pharmacy rewards card and Oyster Tube card.  The pink fabric wallet I keep my Mexican pesos in I bought at a farmer’s market on a layover in Guatemala.  Currently, I’m up to ten different wallets, including my US wallet.  
Some I already had: a Brighton black leather and silver wallet I was given as a gift almost 20 years ago - perfect for Argentine pesos; a red and white plastic wallet that I bought at a store in the local mall to put Q-tips in - perfect for Canada (or Switzerland, or even Japan); a wallet with diagrams exaggerating particular airline situations overly hilarious to airline crew members - exactly right for British pounds, and cheeky British humor.
Others I have found along the way.  A luggage store was having a close-out sale and I found the perfect wallet for Zurich, Switzerland - light cream colored, slim in dimension, perfectly lined slots for credit cards - the color and business-like presentation look of the wallet reminded me of the Swiss mountains and Swiss precision.  
On my first trip to Rio de Janerio, Brazil, I was captivated by the natural beauty of this tropical paradise, which is staggering, and breathtaking.  All of it is blessed by Christo Redeemo, high above the city, looking down with outstretched arms, his presence felt everywhere.  Rio is a religious city, devoted to its faith and beliefs, and for a city of this size, suffering with object misery and poverty, as well as wealth beyond normal scope, the city offers itself up to still being discovered, and experienced.  My wallet needed to reflect this, and I found it.  White for hope, with black trim for those who suffer in poverty, with Christo Redeemo figured prominently, with the sun above shining rays of light to lift all.  So Rio.
Japan, on the other hand, at least before the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, on March 11, 2011, was a traditional rice wallet I bought on my first Tokyo trip, laying over in Narita, near the airport.  Japan is two faces: traditional, and childlike.  My rice wallet is slim, perfect, red like the sun in their national flag, with a Geisha on the front with tilted head and on bended knee.  Traditional.  Perfect.  But,  Japan is so much more, and has so much life, and life to still celebrate as their country struggles to stand again strong after so much loss and devastation.  I bought a new wallet, with a jump-out-at-you Hello Kitty face, front and center.  It is a fun wallet, pink and black, with polka dots; a childish wallet.  It makes me smile, like a Japanese school girl in her so-regulation uniform, every time I use it.  On 17 August, 2011, my crew and I went to a fireworks show, ending a day of celebration of the summer kimono, and there was Hello Kitty, high in the night sky, outlined in colored fireworks.  Hello Kitty, and the colored hearts fireworks garnered the loudest “ooohs” and cheers of the night.
I have 10 wallets now for all the different currencies I need - so far.  I am just really relieved Europe went to a single currency!


  1. I love your blog and recognize my self in each one of them. I love the wallet article. I have 5 ($, €, £, dominicain and Guinée Francs).
    Very pleasant reading from you

    Diami Barry

  2. Diami, that is great news to me that you love my blog! Guinée Francs? That is like a double score since it is not a major/common currency like the $, €, £!! Kudos to you! Thanks for reading!