A week ago, I bought a cup of coffee in Zurich. It was a familiar experience for American travelers in Europe, where portion sizes are far more modest than in our own bounteous country. When a family member accidentally knocked the coffee down, I bought a second cup. It was then that I paid close attention to the cost. These two cups of coffee together would barely fill half a cup in the U.S., yet together they set me back close to $11.00!
I only stopped in Zurich on the way back from Jerusalem. On six previous trips to Israel, I recall how eager people were for dollars. They trusted the greenback more than their own shekel; it was a model of stability and strength. My dollars and I didn’t stand quite so tall this time. The exchange rate was the lowest in my memory, and I made the mistake of not converting all the money I wanted at the beginning of my trip; the dollar’s value continued to plunge rather precipitously during my stay.
My last time in Switzerland, I was able to buy roughly two Swiss francs for each dollar. This time, a dollar wasn’t worth even one Swiss franc. I used to buy four or even five shekels for each dollar; this time it was 3.4.