To get something done in Nepal, is always a little bit of a hassle. What you mostly need is time, patience, and a sense of humor.
Today I had to open a USD account. Why, you might wonder. Well, I sometimes wonder this too. But what you gotta do you gotta do.
For this account I needed 500 USD cash, something I usually don’t have in my wallet. So I walked down New Road till I saw a sign “Money Changer”. It said that nowadays you get 71,15 Nepali Rupees (NRS) for 1 USD. Ok, now an ATM.
I tried at least 8 ATM’s, for which I have crossed the dangerous New Road at least 8 times (no worries mom, I always look right-left-right before I cross the road) because everytime I saw an ATM sign on the other side. Of course none of them worked.
Just when I was about to give up, I saw an ATM which I hadn’t tried yet, and a money changer right next door. Maybe fate was trying to tell me something (or not…keep reading) so I decided to have one final try, and guess what, money came out!
There’s a maximum amount you can draw each time, but fortunately you can draw as many times as you want…
Then I went to the neighbor, Mr. Money Changer. There were 3 men sitting in the little office. If I wanted to change money? I guess so, sir. They talked a bit, stared at a sheet with some numbers, some more talking, and finally one of them gave me the offer: 75 NRS for 1 USD.
It all looked a bit sketchy to me, and I didn’t really feel like leaving my precious rupees here. Also, bargaining over exchange rates just goes a little too far for me. So I told them I’d ask elsewhere and left.
Money Changer no. 2 looked a bit more professional. However, they only had 350 USD. When she realized I needed the money to open a bank account, she made me promise I wouldn’t tell the bank where I got the USD from, as they weren’t allowed to change money for that purpose.
Why? For you a question, for me also. (This doesn’t work quite as well as it does in Dutch).
A regular day in Nepal.