Forget the dollar, the yen, and the euro. If you’re going to the Solomon Islands, you might have to exchange them for some dolphin teeth at the airport.
That’s according to this story out in the Wall Street Journal today: Shrinking Dollar Meets its Match in Dolphin Teeth.
Even Rick Houenipwela, the governor of the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands, says he is an investor in teeth, having purchased a “huge amount” a few years ago. “Dolphin teeth are like gold,” Mr. Houenipwela says. “You keep them as a store of wealth — just as if you’d put money in a bank.”
Few Solomon Islanders share Western humane sensibilities about the dolphins. Hundreds of animals are killed at a time in regular hunts, usually off the large island of Malaita. Dolphin flesh provides protein for the villagers. The teeth are used like cash to buy local produce. Fifty teeth will purchase a pig; a handful are enough for some yams and cassava.
No word on how much it will cost you to get a cheap hotel room for the night, but I’m guessing it’s less than paying off your potential father-in-law. “One healthy bride costs at least 1,000 teeth.”