Zimbabwe: Life is a Cabaret

Zimbabwean 10 million-dollar note

March 23, 2008. Dinner for one at the Victoria Falls Hotel, Jungle Junction, Zimbabwe: $1,243,255,000.

May 14, 2008. Lunch in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

The lunch bill: soup — 50 million, oxtail — 600 million, coffee — 50 million, with no charge for the pink ice cream. During the meal, one of my mates was drinking beer — 750ml bottles of Castle Lager (fondly called bombers). He ordered a fifth one, was advised that the price, which when he ordered his first, second, third and fourth ones was 160 million per bottle, had gone up to 340 million per bottle. That’s right — during lunch there was a price increase.

Above: an old Zimbabwean 10 milion dollar note. On May 20 Zimbabwe began issuing 50 billion notes. As of June 26, the exchange rate was 20 billion Zimbabwe dollars to each US dollar.

Chump change compared to the 100 trillion drachmai (Greece, 1944), the 100 trillion Mark (Germany, 1923), and the 100 quintillion pengő (Hungary, 1946). [Link]

Below: Robert Mugabe’s Dining Room
Robert Mugabe: Dining Room


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