{13/09/2012}   Holiday/toy money

I love shopping anywhere that doesn’t use sterling because, worryingly, other currencies seem like Monopoly money.  I know this is a dangerous mind set for overspend potential but I find it delightfully therapeutic to spend “holiday money”.

I am just back from a few days of work in Switzerland where I spent all my francs.  I had accidentally (deliberately, but it’s my “Monopoly money” psychology at play) got out more francs than could possibly be necessary for three lunches and dinners and tram travel, yet mysteriously I had a heavier bag on my way home than on my way there and merely some coins left in my “abroad wallet”.

Yes, I did have a small scale spending frenzy.  I had asked a Bern resident at my job where I could buy cheese.  He directed me to the food hall of a big department store, Coop City, right by the main station.  I only had about 20 minutes in which to shop but I got far more cheese (never heard of any of it so no idea what it’ll be like!) than I would ever have contemplating buying in one go at home.  It was liberating, a bit of a grab-and-go shop.   I had to pass through (detour quite drastically) the enormous chocolate wing of the food hall.  I mean, I was in Swtzerland, it would have been wrong not to buy chocolate … right?!  I spent somewhere in the region of £40 on cheese and chocolate.

Then at Zurich Airport, I almost (had I had enough cash left and not had to use a credit card, the purchase would have been in the bag, as it were!) convinced myself that being in Switzerland meant that it was perfectly ok to buy a Swiss watch, admittedly a bottom-of-the-range bright coloured Swatch rather than a more expensive Swiss time piece!

I know I wasn’t on holiday in Bern but my treatment of foreign currencies as Monopoly money is consistent whenever and for whatever reason I am in possession of other currencies in their respective country.  It is a reason I enjoy holidays so much too, for I spend a lot of time in my own country fretting about whether I’m being frivolous by buying unnecessary things; once abroad with a wallet full of toy money, I am prone to thoroughly enjoy spending (to a realistic extent though, hence looking at Swatches rather than Rolexes) money on treats and goodies.  And, yes, I have bought a fair few things that looked great where I bought them but didn’t translate well to my home or normal tastes, some rather, erm, distinctive pottery being a recent example!  I was also always glad I didn’t buy one of the lanterns in Morocco that look amazing there but which I had a niggle wouldn’t “work” in my house.


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