Bolivar boats, bills in bras as Venezuela's currency sinks
By Alexandra Ulmer
CARACAS, July 10 (Reuters) - Origami-like boats made from Venezuela's rapidly depreciating bolivar bills sit on the cash register of a small fruit and vegetable store in Caracas.
Cashier Marisol Garcia makes the bolivar boats to illustrate roaring inflation and the currency's tumble on the black market, where even the country's biggest bill is worth just 16 U.S. cents.
"People ask: 'What's that?' I say: 'Our reality,'" explains Garcia, 44, as she rapidly counts wads of notes customers hand her for bananas, coconut juice and mangos.
A debilitating recession and a drop in oil prices have harmed the OPEC nation's ability to provide dollars through its complex three-tiered currency control system, pushing up the black market rate at a dizzying speed.
The bolivar sank past 600 per U.S. dollar on Thursday, compared with 73 a year ago, according to anti-government website DolarToday.
"We're behind. We're going to have to make six little boats out of 100 bolivar bills," added Garcia, who empties her cash register more than 20 times a day and stores notes in shoe boxes in a locked cabinet.