6 How much is one US dollar ?

There was a patch of blue sky on the last day of the year. In the backyard, laundry was still exposed to the weather and a Common Myna walked on it.

There were many summer houses on the northern part of the island along the coast. It was just after the mass and people in their Sunday best were walking near the church. Even though today was Sunday the retail shops we saw on the island were open. People love to spend their pocket money on snacks. Even on New Year's Day these shops were open and many people came to buy snacks and cola.

ShorebirdsAt a small mudflat on the English River coast we saw the Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Whimbrel, Grey Plover, Greater Sand Plover and the Terek Sandpiper. We also saw Crab Plovers which were pretty large, black and white and had thick bills. They dug crabs out of holes in the ground and ate them, which is how they got their names. Turnstones then picked up claws that the Crab Plover shook off and ate them. On the shore the Common Mynas mobbed a dog!

Because this country badly craves foreign currency, at the airport tourists have to pay airport fees in US dollars and shops don't accept rupees after going through departure formalities. Of course after tourists get a departure permit, they are technically out of the country but geologically they are still in the country so, why don't the shops accept rupees ?

When we bought take-away lunch at a Chinese Restaurant an employee who spoke Japanese asked us if we wanted to exchange US dollars into rupees at a rate of 1 US dollar for 10 rupees. People in this country often asked us to exchange US dollars into rupees. Officially 1 rupee is 20 to 25 yen but we bought these US dollars at about 110 yen so it was a real bargain and we took it. But of course there is no guarantee that the money is not fake so I don't recommend it.

When we began to eat lunch it started to rain hard so we waited in our car with our umbrellas open up. Finally it stopped raining and we stayed at the botanical garden and the mudflat at the mouth of the English river in the afternoon. Many White-tailed Tropic Birds flew above the mountain slope behind the botanical garden but we saw less flying foxes than usual today.

In the evening we went to a restaurant on the opposite side of the inn. All tables had been set nicely and well-dressed families were sitting down. A waiter came and said that all tables had been reserved. That was OK as we were undressed and we felt out of place. This restaurant had a take away section so we bought a pizza, a hamburger, a salad and a yogurt for 79 rupees for supper.

The people next door to our inn must have held a party as they played music until midnight. Traffic control was put in force in the heart of Victoria and people were waiting for the countdown to the New Year but we didn't go out and we slept while 2000 was over in a downpour.

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