After trying and failing at three ATMs on the way to the Goa Airport…
…we were finally able to get some valid rupees at the airport’s forex desk. What you see in this pic are some of the brand spanking new Rs 2000 notes the government printed and began issuing to coincide with the demonitisation of the old Rs 500 and 1000 notes.
There is relief for sure, but also frustration and skepticism, among our group. We paid a large “credit card transaction fee” on top of an exorbitant exchange rate to get these rupees. (As I explained to Coco, “exorbitant” means we got ripped off.)
Also, we’ve heard that very few merchants are willing to take the Rs 2000 notes for purchases less than Rs 1500. So that means we may not be able to use these bills for a lot of the things we actually need cash for: bottled water, snacks, tips, and taxis.
I will admit it feels good to have some cash in hand. And I’m well aware that things are MUCH better for us than they are for hundreds of millions of Indians, for whom the positive attitude I reported earlier appears to be wearing thin.
One nontrivial issue people are facing: the country is headed into the height of the wedding season, and while the government has raised the limit for those who can prove their withdrawing cash for wedding expenses, many tell us the limit is not nearly high enough to cover basic costs. Meanwhile, the papers include reports of the lavish weddings hosted and being planned by high government officials.
Double standard alive and well here on the subcontinent….