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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-04-10 17:31
Subject: [travel] Miscellaneous China notes
Security: Public
Tags:china, food, funny, travel
When you change Traveler's Checks into renminbi, they go to a lot of trouble with the serial numbers. So this morning I took down some cash. Guess what, they go to a lot of trouble with the serial numbers. A mix of ones, fives and twenties, a lot of serial numbers. Cripes.

And last night at dinner, I am pleased to report that I avoided the goose bowel. Which was listed on the menu with a helpful photographic hint.


Originally published at jlake.com.

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kyle cassidy
User: kylecassidy
Date: 2009-04-11 03:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
i hope you took a photo of the ... er ... menu warning -- because i can't imagine what it would look like.
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User: fledgist
Date: 2009-04-11 15:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Goose Bowel sounds like the appropriate name for a villain in a Victorian melodrama.
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Leah Cutter: Travel Writer
User: lrcutter
Date: 2009-04-11 17:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Travel Writer
Heh. I traveled through China in the early 90s, before they'd opened up the currency. As a foreigner, I wasn't supposed to use renminbi, I was only supposed to have FEC -- Foreigner Exchange Currency. FEC was the only currency that could be used in the Friendship stores, the stores that sold foreign goods. The official exchange rate for dollars to FEC was about 1:1.

However, I wasn't traveling on the main roads. I was pretty far off the beaten track. I was going places where shop owners had never seen FEC, thought it wasn't currency. So I ended up doing most of my exchanges on the blackmarket, where I was getting 1:10 -- $1 US approx $10 renminbi. FEC on the blackmarket had an exchange rate of about 1:30.

Back alley dealings, counting through the money to make sure that it wasn't just paper (still have some of the counterfeit that I didn't look at carefully enough), telling them that I was meeting someone (when I wasn't, I was traveling alone) Walking out on a deal when three guys suddenly showed up and they tried to push me to the back of a store room -- good times. Good times.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2009-04-11 20:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

~ aynjel
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