It's difficult to gauge how expensive Thailand was in 97 cos I left my money belt (containing cash and cards), at the bar in Heathrow Airport, and as a result my friend and I were forced to spend his stash for the duration of the trip...
But just weeks after we came back the Asian crisis hit, and I'm guessing the mighty punt Éireannach could've seen you partaking in a whole bucket-load of 'curb crawling'!
Anyway, upon arrival back in London, I discovered someone had found my money belt and handed it in, complete with cash and cards!.
...that reminds me, I must remember to pay my mate back one day...
For the record you can buy beer in Iran too ...I'd initially tried to procure some from the Jewish community in Yazd, but to no avail. So in Esfahan, still on the hunt, we translated some Japanese scribbles in a hostel travel advice book... ran along to an Armenian shop down the road with an empty bag and a fistful of Rials(approx.$20). Walked in the shop, put the bag on the floor, handed over the cash and simply stated a number (8), then kicked the bag under the counter as the instructions had stipulated. Then the guy told us to go away and come back in 10 minutes and "be careful".
When we returned the bag was still on the floor in the shop, though this time it was a little heavier;-) We went back to our dorm where me and three other guys locked the door and indulged in a little criminality with 8 cans of 50cl Tuborg Red...I don't think beer ever tasted so good?
Emboldened by this, the next day our order had increased and we decided to hit the shop during in daylight hours. However this time during our waiting period, as we stood about trying to seem innocuous, we were approached by a couple of friendly Mullahs (a Mosque entrance was just 50yards from the shop).
Normally of course this isn't a problem, but we were a little jumpy, and in order close the conversation we agreed to meet them the following day for a chat... and through that meeting we were able to arrange a Q&A session with the third highest Mullah in Iran...but that's another story.