Friday, December 30, 2005

Mission Impossible: change Taiwanese dollars to euros

Earlier this week, John wanted to change the Taiwanese dollars we had left over from our October trip. Actually, he wanted to do it himself months ago, but I kept telling him that I'd do it because I knew where to go. I never did it. So, as a family, we went to the main branch of our bank, where I was sure we'd be able to exchange our foreign currency. I had done it with other currencies before.

The grand building is situated not far from the Opera House. While John and Maylin sat comfortably in a leather chair, I waited in line for at least twenty minutes...to find out that the bank couldn't perform this simple transaction. The teller did not know why she couldn't do it -- she just couldn't. I asked her where we might go. She suggested one of the change bureaus near the touristy area of Place de l'Opera. We went to a reputable-looking one, and they were willing to exchange all sorts of obscure currencies from Sri Lanka and Tanzania, but not from Taiwan! I felt like I had some contagious disease or something. No one wanted to touch my Taiwanese dollars. Once again, I requested some advice from the agent. She suggested we try the Banque de France.

When we got home, John looked up the contact information for Banque de France. I called the local branch. No answer on a weekday in the early afternoon. Crazy. I called the main branch. No, they don't exchange Taiwanese dollars. The bank founded by Napoleon in 1800 can't even do this simple favor? Hmmm...what do we do now?

I've been looking online for places in Paris to go, but I found that the only places that might bring us success are the change bureaus located in some hostels. Might not be worth traipsing around the entire city in this cold. I think I'll save those dollars for a special occasion instead.

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