What’s a dollar worth?

Malagasy currency is delightfully colorful and due to the exchange rate withdrawing my monthly living allowance makes me feel like I’ve robbed the bank. Buying things can also be confusing because people use both ariary and francs but generally don’t tell you which one they are telling you. They may also give the numbers in Malagasy or French. My town is fairly kind in that if the price is in ariary they give the price in Malagasy and if the price is in francs then they give it in French. The conversion from ariary to francs is always 1:5 so it’s not difficult to do the conversation and the currency used is the same for either. Yes, I know it would be simpler to just use one or the other, but I suppose it could also be more difficult.

Here’s an example of things you can buy in my town for 1 USD. This is based on the last exchange rate I knew (around 3,200 ariary to 1 USD) and is generally rounded because the difference between 10 eggs and 10.22323231 eggs doesn’t matter in real life. These prices also vary around the country so what you can buy here cannot be bought for the same price in say, Tana.


15 avocados

7 eggs

1 liter of gas (approx. 4 dollars a gallon)

8 bars of soap

1-3 pineapples (depending on how well you can bargain)

32 mofo ankondros

60 freeze pops

A 30 km taxi brousse ride

24 oranges (when in season)

150 MB of internet

1.5 beers (depending on size and where you are)

0.5 of a small chicken

5 crabs

2 cups of shrimp

100 bananas



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