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365 Days Project #20



I decided to talk about one particular subject today, money. As strange as this may sound, anyone arriving in Lebanon will need to be really good in math or have a handy calculator. The photo below represents two currencies co-existing in the country. It’s not the same feel you get in border towns, or capitals, where one can pay in different currencies. It is one sure thing anyone living here longer needs to seriously get used to.

The official currency of Lebanon is Lebanese Pound, which goes in daily jargon by the name of Lira. And then there is Dollar. The exchange rate between the two is permanently fixed, so there are no daily adjustments and everyone can pay in cash, or withdraw from the bank, both Liras and Dollars. You can even write checks or pay by card in the currency of your choosing.

All you need to master are quick calculations to be done literally everywhere. As prices are displayed usually in thousands of Lira (or, let’s not forget, Lebanese pounds), it is worth remembering that each 1,500 Lira equals to just 1$. With time one  memorizes major possibilities of 10$ = 15,000, 20$ = 30,000 Lira, 50$ = 75,000 Lira and so on. In case of smaller or larger numbers all you need to do is simply play with zeros. When it comes to odd numbers one either needs to be quick with math or still rely on that little calculator option on a cell phone. Cents don’t exist here, and you are usually given nice silver coins of 500 Lira as change. Since 250 Lira coin is now becoming almost forgotten, the change is rounded up to the nearest number. By the way, the immortal, wide-spread and minimum tip in Lebanon is 1000 Lira.

Photo © Marta Saad 2011



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