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I'm not sure I fully understand this comic. Is this a comment on how expensive Zürich is or how much money that one wino wanted? It also requires some knowledge on the exchange rate of the swiss franc I assume.
See Sarah's answer below. Basically, that Zurich is expensive. 50 francs is basically 50 dollars.
Since I'm planning on visiting European capitals I will probably reach Bern first. Is Bern just as expensive?
Everywhere in Switzerland is pretty damn expensive, but Zurich especially so. I've only passed briefly through Bern but I can't imagine it'll be a whole lot cheaper than anywhere else
So, usually a person will ask you for what they think you can spare. Typically this is just a few dollars or some change. In Zurich, the man thinks fifty dollars is what you can spare, indicating that the other people in the town have to spend fifties the way you might spend a fiver in New York. But the travelers aren't from Zurich and so they don't spend fifties so much as not have them.
Is this in regards to the eternal bums staying across the street from the HB coop? I wonder what we can do to get rid of them... (evil laugh)
Monty python references are always welcome :)