Practiced peddler

By Denzil and Jennie Verardo
This item appears on page 50 of the July 2015 issue.
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Tell us about the funniest thing that happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the United States.) There are no restrictions on length. ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Include your full mailing address. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged. 

The winners this month are DENZIL and JENNIE VERARDO of Elk Grove, California:

While visiting Zimbabwe in 2007, we stayed at a hotel near Victoria Falls. Early one foggy morning, in order to get a different perspective on the falls, we took a walk to the bridge that crosses the Zambezi River and connects with Zambia.

A young man approached us from the Zambia side selling copper bracelets. We didn’t really want any, but after he determined that we were Americans, he asked if we would buy a bracelet if he could name all of the US presidents in order. We said that if he could do that, we would buy a bracelet. We are both historians and actually know the names of the US presidents in order, so we were ready for his attempt.

He did it easily and correctly, and we were impressed. We chose seven bracelets to buy, then asked if he would take Zimbabwean dollars, since we were on the border with Zimbabwe. 

He replied, “Haven’t I proven that I’m not stupid? I will take US dollars, euros, British pounds or South African rands but not the most worthless currency in the world!”* We all had a good chuckle. 

As we were walking away, he asked if we would buy more bracelets if he could name all of the US secretaries of state in order. We declined and left him while we still had dollars in our pockets.

*Due to hyperinflation, Zimbabwe abandoned its dollar in 2009. It currently accepts eight foreign currencies as legal tender, including US and Australian dollars, Botswanan pulas, Indian rupees, Chinese yuan renminbi and Japanese yen.

In a follow-up, Jennie Verardo told ITN, “At a bank in Zimbabwe, we exchanged $10 for one million Zimbabwean dollars, then went to a post office and spent 900,000 of them on three postage stamps for postcards.” 

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Tell us about the funniest thing that happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the United States.) There are no restrictions on length. ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Include your full mailing address. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged. 

The winners this month are DENZIL and JENNIE VERARDO of Elk Grove, California:

While visiting Zimbabwe in 2007, we stayed at a hotel near Victoria Falls. Early one foggy morning, in order to get a different perspective on the falls, we took a walk to the bridge that crosses the Zambezi River and connects with Zambia.

A young man approached us from the Zambia side selling copper bracelets. We didn’t really want any, but after he determined that we were Americans, he asked if we would buy a bracelet if he could name all of the US presidents in order. We said that if he could do that, we would buy a bracelet. We are both historians and actually know the names of the US presidents in order, so we were ready for his attempt.

He did it easily and correctly, and we were impressed. We chose seven bracelets to buy, then asked if he would take Zimbabwean dollars, since we were on the border with Zimbabwe. 

He replied, “Haven’t I proven that I’m not stupid? I will take US dollars, euros, British pounds or South African rands but not the most worthless currency in the world!”* We all had a good chuckle. 

As we were walking away, he asked if we would buy more bracelets if he could name all of the US secretaries of state in order. We declined and left him while we still had dollars in our pockets.

*Due to hyperinflation, Zimbabwe abandoned its dollar in 2009. It currently accepts eight foreign currencies as legal tender, including US and Australian dollars, Botswanan pulas, Indian rupees, Chinese yuan renminbi and Japanese yen.

In a follow-up, Jennie Verardo told ITN, “At a bank in Zimbabwe, we exchanged $10 for one million Zimbabwean dollars, then went to a post office and spent 900,000 of them on three postage stamps for postcards.”