My wallet in the US typically had some cash in the form of bills and a bunch of plastic. Any coins I had went into a jar at home.
In Ecuador, I carry a lot of coins, a few bills, and a little plastic. I just dumped out the contents of my wallet. Here is my cash:
|$12.24, mostly coins|
In the US, when a bill is damaged, it is not a big deal. The bills are printed there so they are replaced easily. In Ecuador, when a bill is damaged, it needs to be shipped all the way to the US to be replaced.
People and businesses will not accept a damaged bill. They hand it back to you and tell you the bill is no good. Much easier to just use coins! There is no risk of accidentally tearing a coin.
Fish markets are bustling with activity early every morning in many coastal towns. Fishermen bring in their overnight haul and sell it on the beach.
|Fish market, Puerto Lopez, Manabí, Ecuador|
Money changing hands at the market sometimes gets wet with salt water and fish... ummm... parts. Coins can be easily rinsed off. Bills retain some of the smell.
Periodically, I withdraw money from an ATM and receive interesting smelling bills. Those, I try to spend quickly!