Thursday, June 30, 2005

New Lei

Tomorrow, July 1st, ushers in a new era for Romania. The Leu (which apparently is the singular name of the currency here, not a word I normally have occasion to use as there are roughly 35,000 of them to one Euro. The much more commonly needed word -the plural- is Lei) is being thrown out in favour of a brave new currency - New Lei. These will be the same as old Lei but divided by 10,000. So, while a beer now costs something like 30,000 Lei in the future (tomorrow) it will cost 3.

It's probably a good idea, but I can't help feeling they chose the date poorly. On paper "July 1st" has a nice ring to it, it's exactly half way through the year, it sounds like a good day to change currency. But it's a Friday, and there are many things to be done in the introduction of this new money, and thus everything is shut. The banks have been closed since yesterday. The post office is closed (irritatingly as I apparently have a package to collect). If they had changed over on the 3rd (Sunday) one wonders if it may have been a little less disruptive.

[A bit later: The shops are closed too. I've just been out to buy myself a snack. Not today. Bloody new lei. I already hate it]

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