On the Road
How we cite our quotes:
Then it was time to change our money. We saw great stacks of pesos on a table and learned that eight of them made an American buck, or thereabouts. We changed most of our money and stuffed the big rolls in our pockets with delight. (IV.4.18)
Just as drugs, time, and music take on new meaning in Mexico, so does money.
We bought three bottles of cold beer - cerveza was the name of beer - for about thirty Mexican cents»; or ten American cents each. We bought packs of Mexican cigarettes for six cents each. We gazed and gazed at our wonderful Mexican money that went so far, and played with it and looked around and smiled at everyone. Behind us lay the whole of America and everything Dean and I had previously known: about life, and life on the road. We had finally found the magic land at the end of the road and we never dreamed the extent of the magic. (IV.5.3)
Part of the "magic" of Mexico is its lack of limitations – Dean and Sal can play music as loud as they want, they aren’t troubled by cops, they can take drugs with greater ease, and they are no longer limited by money.
My girl charged thirty pesos, or about three dollars and a half, and begged for an extra ten pesos and gave a long story about something. I didn’t know the value of Mexican money; for all I knew I had a million pesos. I threw money at her. (IV.5.47)
Money loses its value and meaning in Mexico.