Money Laundering–and Ironing

You’ve heImageard of money laundering. One of my fellow travelers, Susan, is weary from ironing dollar bills.

If you’ve traveled to a Third World country, you know they like their US currency crisp–without tears, folds, or marks. A couple of years ago in Belize, i bought some handcrafts from two 10-year-old girls, and they were distraught that the dollar bills i gave them were well-worn. Our guide to the Mayan ruins shooed them away, but my heart still pings when i remember them.

Now we are going to an emerging country, Burma, that operates on a cash economy–no ATMs. We will get a better exchange rate for crisp $100 bills dated after 2006. My bank had a few thousand dollars on hand, leftover from the Christmas holidays. But Susan’s bank had no hot-off-the-press money, so she’s adding her own heat. She’s ironing her $100 bills.



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