Lens-Artists Challenge #176- One Image/One Story

I love a mystery, don’t you? Why was this young couple undergoing such an intense cleansing? Had they done something terribly wrong? Was it a type of Merit-making? On the other hand, maybe they were being cleansed before undertaking a journey, a project, or even a marriage? This was the third bowl of ‘crystal water’ I’d seen poured over them and it seemed as though there was more to come. I wish we’d been able to wait to ask some questions but time didn’t allow for this.

No, no, no. Find a policeman if you want directions. These children in Caracas may seem to know exactly where the Change Bureau is but they will probably send you to the nearest Emerald seller as every other person there seems to have a contact in the business, working from a street corner or a shop doorway. Emeralds and Cambio, the two things tourists are looking for in Bolivar Plaza (don’t mention cocaine).

It was the year 2000, and we did ask a policeman in the crowded square where we could exchange some money. He recommended his ‘cousin’ in a nearby bank as the best person with whom to do a deal, and he took us there and waited for his ‘cut’ from the bank clerk, at the end of the transaction. Cultural expectations overturned at every corner in a fascinating city.

18 thoughts on “Lens-Artists’Challenge”

  1. I can picture the guys on the a beach in Bulgaria – 1985 – walking along with the money woven between their toes…. ‘change money, change money’…. I haven’t thought of that in years!!!!😅 😂

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    1. It’s amazing how one little tale prompts these memories, isn’t it. I’ve been recalling other memories of money-changing abroad. I also remember the time we couldn’t get any dollars in the USA because we only had Travellers Cheques left at the end of our holiday in the South Pacific, and we spent a fraught two days trying to change money in LA. I still find it hard to believe how backward the banks there seemed compared to ours.


      1. Ah.. travellers cheques … nightmare!!!!
        Queueing in banks and hoping they’d take them …. no credit cards … no ATMs… its a wonder we left our own country at all!!!

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  2. Great little stories from your travels 🙂 The second one reminded me of a time we went to a large hotel in Samarkand as we understood they had a currency exchange which our smaller one lacked. They did but it was closed. The security guard offered to change some money for us which he did at a good rate but will still have made a bit on the side for himself – everyone was happy with the deal, ourselves and him 🙂

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    1. It’s little stories like that that make travel so interesting. It reminds me of how much fun travel was in the days before everything was smoothed out for us. I remember in Israel having to go to another town to change money and it took nearly a whole day and in Rio we were taken down a back alley in darkness (were we crazy, or what?) to change some money. But when the official rate was so poor and the black-market rate so good, what was one to do?!

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  3. Sorry, everyone, my WP site has reverted to its bad settings and refuses to accept my clicks when I want to Like one of your comments. It worked spasmodically after I cleaned my computer of cookies and temp. files but now things are back to where they were about six months ago when I have to sign in every time I click to comment but now I can’t even Like the comments.


    1. I’ve come back to this post because of a new comment and your comment above reminded me of our first visit to Spain (Sitges) and a day trip we made to Barcelona. We asked a policeman (as one does) for directions to the station but he took us for a coffee and tried to persuade us to spend the night at his ‘cousins’ B & B as it was getting late and we might have missed the train. Travel novices then – in exotic parts of the world anyway, as Spain was then – we nearly fell for it!


  4. Travel is full of mysteries. Perhaps the cleansing was a western version of baptism? A cleansing to start a new life? Mari, your photography is wonderful and certainly tells more than one story.

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