One lesson learned in Morocco was to always try to get change. If you could take a big bill and break it down to a smaller one via some normal transaction, that was a good idea. Inevitably, the next person you buy something from will not have anything close to enough change on hand to break your seemingly huge 20dh note.
Not the case in Egypt. First, the idea of coins is only slowly catching on, with 1pound coins being the largest. After an afternoon of shopping this leaves me with pockets bulging with old well worn semi-torn pieces of paper. At home my desk is littered with piles of them, making me look like a low rent drug dealer or extortionist. Because things are so relatively cheap, yet I want to have some reasonable amount of money on hand, I have been building up huge supplies of small change and find myself in the odd position of wanting to ask someone to cash in the stack of 5pound notes for something more reasonable like a 20.
It is a very odd in which we live.