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Dinar is the currency of Algeria.
One US dollar is worth 73.13 Algerian dinars (dec 2005)
One European Euro is worth 86.22 Algerian dinars (dec 2005)
You must declare your foreign currency when entering in Algeria. You must change it only in banks and it will be noted on your currency document. You cannot bring dinars out of the country and upon leaving, you have to give back your currency document to the custom that will check it.
These photos show both sides of the three banknotes that you will mostly use : 200, 500 and 1,000 dinars.
Caution : in 2005 there were no ATM. The use of credit cards is still very limited, even in banks. As far as I have noticed, only international hotels accept them. That might change fast.
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In local cafés, do not expect to find any beers but in international hotels, they will serve locally brewed biers. The first photo shows "Tango" a good local beer, though rather sweet. The second photo shows Stella Artois brewed in Algeria under the control of the Belgium based brewery. It is bitter and we preferred it.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
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Algeria has many different coins.
The first photo shows the four most usual ones : 10, 20, 50 and 100 dinars which makes a coherent sent.
The second photo shows various kind of 1 and 5 dinars coins that are still in use (one dinar is less than one cent !).
The third photo shows older 10, 20, 50 and 100 coins that are still in use though much seldom than the ones on the first photo.
All the local people wear a cheche in the desert. The more layers on the head the better against the burning sun.
When we entered the desert, Ismaël, our driver from Alger, also bought one for himself in a local shop.
The cheche has to be that long that it also covers the neck and -if needed with a sandstorm for example- that you can cover your face too.
The three teas
This is one of the things I most enjoyed. The tea hour. Traditonaly there are three of them, always in the same order.
The first: Strong like life
The second: Bitter like dead
The third: Sweet like love
If you only want to take one, for politeness you should wait for the last, considered for them like the worse (for a european taste it is less heavy than the others, and it is very, very good)
It is not easy to make the tea properly, it is a long and calm ceremony where the nervous and hurries don't have an invitation. If you have the opportunity to sea the preparation take profit of it and enjoy one of the traditions of the country.
Mozabites in Ghardaia
Mozabites are a conservative Islamic sect and they live mainly in the Ghardaia area.
They are strongly bound to their traditions and most Mozabite women wear a veil covering completely their head, with the exception of one or both eyes.
Rustic W.C. in oasis villages
The smaller oasis villages don't have electricity, no running water, no sewage.
Any house has anyway a w.c. that often is just an open air corner overlooking the neighbouring courtyard. There is always a sort of curtain (for you privacy) but I must admit that the presence of goats and sheets underneath is a bit embarassing.
Rai music is a kind of modern arabic music that became popular in the last twenty years, not only in the Maghreb area, but also abroad. It is a blend of modern rhytms and classic arabic sounds: I really like it. Rai is very popular in Algeria and the most famous Rai singers are algerian, like Cheb Khaled. Unfortunately the islamic fundamentalists regarded Rai music as blaspheme, and many Rai singers have been killed in the last 10 years while others, like Cheb Khaled, have escaped abroad, mainly to France.
Our three guides were Tuaregs. They are Berber stock and Arabs call them "the people of the veil". One spoke pretty good french (our main guide) but the other two did not (the cook and the camel guide). One night we stayed at the house of the Tuareg guide and met his wife and children.Related to:
The Algerian arabic is the most spoken language in daylife, don't get surprised if you heard some french words with it, this is because this local arabic is mixed with foreign words from other langiages, mostly french words and few turkish, spanish, words .. due of the colonial history of this land. There are also some berber dialects, as kabyle in kabylie region, chaouia in the east and tergui in the deep south (touareg land).
Beside arabic, most algerians speak or undrestand french especially in the big cities, so it's not a problem, few people can speak other languages as english, or spanish in the west of the country, most young people can undrestand few english since it's studied in shcool and it became a must too as an international language..
Officially, Arabic (Fus'ha) is the official language of the country, this is the classical arabic which is studied in school and writen on posters on the streets ..etc, it's common with all arab countries and widely studied and known throughout the Islamic world.
Classical Arabic has been a literary language since at least the 6th century. During the Middle Ages Classical arabic was also a major vehicle of culture, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy, with the result that many European languages have also borrowed numerous words from it.
The Arabic Calligraphy is a beautiful art itself, it's used in the arabesque art and to decorate mosques or to write the holly quaran.
Movie - The Battle of Algiers
After 130 of occupation and many political attempts to get algerian independence peacefully, the algerian people get just more killed and more suffering!! On Nov 1st, 1954 algerians guided by the FLN begin a bloody war against the French occupation to get their independence. after this war Algeria became known as the land of million and half million martyr.
If you want to watch a movie about Algerian liberation war, one of the bloodiest independence war in modern history, you have to wath this movie. it's the best!
It's about the battle of Algiers between 1957 and 1962 when the French army try to destroy and demolish the algiers of the revolution but algerians were determined to sacrify every thing to get freedom and that what made this battle so strong and bloody..
This is one of the most powerful war movies ever made in cinema history, it is real and well done, it was turned just few years after the real events, in the same places and with natural actors without experience but they played so much well their roles, I think because they lived the same events during this liberation war, one of them played his own role (Yassef Saadi).
We walked in the centre of Bou Saada and visited the market. We enjoyed to look at the daily life and at all the trading people and craftsmen.
Among them was also this man who repaired shoes on the street.
Guerba: the water is conserved fresh!!!!!
At first it could result a little impressive, but after a pair of days drinking ambient temperature water, and you taste the water is inside the guerba, no matter where it comes from, you preffer the guerba's!!!!
Take your shoes off
When visiting people's homes or going inside most buildings you will be expected to take off your shoes. This applies even to when you are camping in the desert and sitting on the mat in the sand around the camp fire, and when visiting nomads. Before you step onto, or sit on a carpet shoes must be removed.
It helps if you take shoes that fasten with velcro and can be taken off quicklyRelated to:
Eating camel meat
Finding food in the smaller oasis in the Sahara can be difficult. If you see camel legs on the ground, close to a door, they are selling camel meat there. You can buy it and then cook it yourself on fire. It tastes reasonably good...
Sofitel Algiers is a high class hotel, very nice with all accomodations that any traveler need,...more
06 Bd, zabour larbi-hai khaldia, Oran, 31000, Algeria
Good for: Couples
Stayed 10 nights on a business trip. This is the winter season so rooms are like an ice box...room...more
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