Thursday, April 23, 2009

Exchanges In The "Black Market"

While in 太原, a "black market" opportunity presented itself. For my birthday, I received two fives and two twenties. I usually keep them with me. On our way out of our Shanxi noodle place, a Chinese man asked us if we had any American money. (In Taiyuan, there were a lot of people who were interested in money, so maybe there is a club!) Accidentally, I left my money back on campus. Having none, I promised to bring some back later.

Now, there are two pros for me. First, I do not have to pay the exchange fee. Second, I share culture with Chinese people.

Later, I came back, money in hand, and got thirty five yuan for five dollars. The moment I pulled out the cash, a group swarmed around me. I "sold" not just one five dollar bill, but two of them, for a total of seventy yuan. Julie, Mom, and I moved out of the crowd so we did not get "killed" by people trying to buy my money. One man followed the three of us and offered forty yuan for a five dollar bill, but I had no more.

Dad, meanwhile, was explaining all the symbols and letters on the bills. Other people (obviously part of the "club"), pulled out their own one dollar bills and compared.

This was my first experience in the "black market!"

~Z

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