A glass of beer on a table

Some years ago I received a fresh, crisp Gs. 1,000 bill. Seems like a strange gift, but if you´ve received change in Paraguay you´ll realize how rare this is. Subjected to years of manhandling in the Paraguayan heat and humidity “one mil” (“mil”=thousand) bills are smelly, crumbling, and mysteriously humid, messes. But small change is changing in Paraguay. In the last few months 1mil bills have been almost entirely replaced with 1mil coins. That´s not all though…

Now there´s a new small bill in town: the Gs. 2,000 bill. Smooth and colorful it has thusfar proven to be superior in almost every way to even my museum quality 1mil bill. I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed. I like the fact that it features two Paraguayan women (teachers Adela and Celsa Speratti) with a ñanduti background. I like that I can now pay for bus fare (Gs. 2,100) with one bill and one coin. And, I´m not ashamed to say this, I like that I can play “peek a boo” (here it´s “¡coreco… guaaa!”) with my nieces and nephews through the bill´s two see-through sections.

The first thing you will notice about the 2mil bill is it’s strange, space-age texture. This is due to the fact that it is made out of a polymer substrate, or, in layman’s terms, plastic. The cited benefits of this material are its durability (due to its imperviousness to water), superior hygenic qualities, and dificulty to forge.  Some people have found the bill’s smoothness off-putting. I can see how the lack of traction it has could get annoying if you had to handle them in large quantities as a bus driver, supermarket teller or almacen owner. The bill may have it’s detractors but after years of being handed crumbling odorous 1mil bills it is hard to see the 2mil bill as anything but a step forward.