Well, it my be hard to top the shock value of the first post in this series: Things Along the Road… Fried Crickets, but most of life can be rather mundane. So this post along with many others may not be all that exciting, but they will continue to give a brief snapshot of life in Cambodia.
Money changers, especially in areas around the markets, are another common thing to see along the road. The official currency of the country is the riel. However, the US dollar is widely used throughout the whole country. In the past, coins were used, but the current system does not use any coins, US or Cambodian.
The current exchange rate is about 4,300 riel for 1 US dollar. But most small shops and restaurants give an exchange rate of 4,000 riel for 1 US dollar. The money changers in small booths along the road offer the best exchange rate. So one can gain about 7 cents per dollar by getting money exchanged at a road side booth rather than using US dollars at places where prices are charged in the Cambodian riel. When getting money exchanged, each US dollar is closely inspected, because the use of counterfeit dollars is a fairly common occurrence. Also, I think my brain is still adjusting to dividing prices by 4,000 to see how much the price is in dollars.