Puno. - Five weeks ago, kN and gM came across their first fake one soles coin in Arequipa when trying to pay for Internet time. Having money rejected was perplexing in the context of all their travels in the last 2½ years as it had not happened anywhere before, but it was also perplexing in itself because a one soles coin is worth about 28 US cents or is equal to one liter of bottled water.
Why would anyone go through the effort of creating fake one soles coins? kN and gM still do not know.
Now in Puno, it has become increasingly difficult to get rid of the fake coins. Whereas only Internet Cafés and taxi drivers would carefully check one soles coins in Arequipa and Cuzco, everyone is checking in Puno. It also seems that more fake coins are circulating in Puno, possibly because Puno is the last stop on the tourist route before Bolivia, and many tourists arrive with accumulated fake coins in their pockets. It gets to the point where gM no longer accepts one soles coins, but insists on being given other change instead.
kN and gM were only able to get rid of some but not all fake one soles coins.
(See also Thieves & Scams: 0 kN/gM: 1, Thieves & Scams: 0 kN/gM: 2, and Thieves & Scams: 0 kN/gM: 3 - Overall Winner: Poverty)