During the last days I have seen floating islands, Cusco, Machu Picchu and some other things. But more about that in two or three days. Here is the story of the wrong 50 Soles bill.
In Ollantaytambo I was eating with Peter, whom I met in Bolivia, in a restaurant. Here in Peru it is always good to have small bills in the wallet. In the small shops it is sometimes a problem to pay with 20 Soles bills. There is always a lack of change. The restaurant was upper middle class, a main course costs between 7 and 10 EUR. Anyway, our bill accounts for about 140 Soles. I have only 100 and 200 bills in my wallet. Peter put a bunch of 10s and 20s on the table. So I take his cash to have some smaller bills and pay with two 100 Soles bills. I get a 50 and 10 Soles bill as change.
The next day I was up early and was walking around in Ollantaytambo for a good 2 1/2 hours. About noon, I had already walked 7 to 8 km. I take a break and sit down in a restaurant at the main square. There I had a good chicken soup and I drank a beer. I wanted to pay with the 50 Soles bill and was immediately reminded that it is a wrong bill – now I was able to see it too. However, it was good enough that a tourist would not recognize it, if not looking very carefully. I did not pay too much attention on the bills – at least not until now.
I knew immediately where I have received the 50 Soles bill the day before. Was it intentional? Or was it just coincidence? I did not know what to think. The 50 Soles remained in my pocket for now. I plot Plan A, to go to this restaurant again, have dinner there and to leave the wrong 50 Soles bill, where I received it.
The next day, when I came back from Machu Picchu to the train station in Aquas Calientes, I still had some time left. Since I had not eaten all day, I bought a sandwich and a drink and accidentally gave the wrong 50 Soles. They took it. I thought: Well, that was not my plan, but I got rid of it. 10 minutes later the employees from the Café were looking for me in the waiting area. I played stupid. Again they showed me that the bill was a copy. I want to avoid problems and took the bill back.
So, back to Plan A. Morally, I had some doubts. But now, since the forgery was detected in two different places, I supposed, that the restaurant has given the wrong 50$ in purpose.
I prepare the “crime“ to the last detail. I walk around the restaurant, looking for the best “escape way”. I think about what place I’m going to take in the restaurant, that I can get out fast, as long as the waitress is still on the way to the cash desk. I planned to eat for 60 Soles and I planned how to place the bills on the invoice – the 10 over the 50, so that you can only see the number 50 and to place a few coins as tip.
So in the evening I go back to the restaurant and sit down strategically. The food, without a doubt, tastes good. I have a steak, a beer and then a cocktail – in total is summed up to exactly 60 Soles.
Sitting on a large table – like at the evening, when I was there with Peter – sat a large group of 16 or more people. And then I was lucky. I was about to ask for the bill, as the large group began to pay – almost everyone individually. Lots of small plates with bills where given to the people. The people were chatting, so it took a while until they put the money on the plates and until then plates were collected. I used the “chaos” and asked for the bill too. I placed the money as said on the plate. My plate with the money mixed with the other ones. I was quickly out of the door and disappeared around the next two corners, in the dark, narrow streets. The “crime” was successful.
I bet, another tourist has to deal with the 50 Soles bill soon.
Thank you for reading, Jürgen.