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Friday, January 13, 2006


Iki YAM!

Azerbaijan has a new currency, delightfully shorthanded as YAM (Yeni Azerbaijan Manat, or new Azerbaijan Manat). It's causing all manner of mayhem.

You never know what currency is going to come out of the ATM -- old Manats or new. The standard foreigner taxi fare of one shirvan, (or 10,000 old manats, now two, or iki, YAM)is now subject to far too much debate and interpretation. It's certainly more fun to argue with taxi drivers over YAMs than Shirvans or Mahmeds. In addition, it's not at all inappropriate to pay for some things in dollars, thus creating three acceptable forms of legal tender in Azerbaijan. Toss in the fact that educational standards have slid somewhat since the Soviets bailed out and things can get sitcom wacky.

The new YAMS look like Euros. In fact, some bills have the most broadly interpreted map of Europe on them I've ever seen. It practically includes Kazakhstan.

Any chance of some piccies of the new notes?
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