Going into Ethiopia for my couple of days holiday I searched the web for information about changing money. I found all sorts of useful information but not the vital fact that you can’t change your Birr back at the airport. It seems that foreign currency is in short supply across Ethiopia and everyone would love to be paid in dollars. So, just bring dollars!
Foolishly I withdrew quite a lot of Birr from an ATM on arrival at the airport. What I had not factored in, because I was ill, is that because I was ill I would not be going anywhere. However, I had a lovely stay in the comfortable and friendly Jupiter Bole hotel – mostly sleeping and sipping bottled water.
It was when I was leaving that I realised that I could not exchange my Birr. It is not an internationally traded currency so it’s no use to anyone outside the country. I took the only sensible course of action left to me – I shopped up a storm in one of the few shops in this terminal. You might remember that the other terminal has no shops at all – or any other way to offload money. Small troubles.