red maos make china go ’round

October 1st was National Day, for which we got a one-week holiday as one of China’s two Golden Weeks. But that’s over and done with, and now it’s work work work. So here’s a picture of money. It’s Mao! Because this is why all of China basically shut down for a week and why we’re all back to toiling away.

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Red Maos are the 100 RMB banknote in China, and even though they’re the highest-denomination note, they’re worth less than 20 USD. Credit cards are becoming more widely used, but cash is still more widely used, especially among older people. Which is super annoying because you end up carrying a fair number of bills and it just feels oh so sketchy. Or worse, you end up stuck at the bank waiting behind a line of old ladies with stacks and stacks of bills that need to go through the counting machine. And as opposed to when I was in China three/four years ago, I have yet to encounter a fake bill! Progress!

And in related news: I’m going to be working in Shanghai for at least one more year!

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chinese day in chinatown

Today is October 1st, which in China is National Day, or Guo Qing Jie (国庆节). It’s a pretty major holiday over there because it celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China and you get a few days of vacation. Since I’m in New York, I thought I’d be a good little Chinese girl and head down to Chinatown, where I quickly realized that many of the people in Chinatown were probably not the kind of people who would be celebrating the founding of the PRC. I felt like an outsider speaking Mandarin because virtually everyone was speaking Cantonese.

I did see a lion dance on Bayard Street, and I’m not sure if it was done for the National Day or not. Anyway, it was kind of fun. I walked around a bit and picked up some frozen dumplings and good instant noodles (as opposed to Maruchan Ramen)! I also picked up some tofu skin rolls for dinner, which were pretty good, but wow there was a lot of oil in those things. They were the veggie kind with vermicelli, carrots, mushrooms, et cetera wrapped in tofu skins and then fried. Yum.

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