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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Math Lesson #2 - Shanghai

In Shanghai the currency is Chinese Yen Renminbi, and the exchange is 1 Euro to 8.3047. I used to be good at math; how much cash do I need to withdraw? Well let's see, I need 1000 CNY to pay for new pants tailored  for my boss, taxi fare, and some money for whoever does not accept my credit card. During the attempted withdrawal I discover my French debit card does not work, so I use my US debit card.

My colleague's French debit card also does not work, and he has no backup. I offer to share, but he says he will get cash at the next machine. He is equally unsuccessful at the next machine. I lend him 1000.

We arrive at the hotel, and find that my colleague's same card that did not work at the ATM works fine at the hotel. On the other hand, my French credit card does not work but my US credit card works fine. They approve some amount of money in case I drink the mini-bar dry. A very real possibility.

We go to the fake market. genuine copies of everything you can imagine. You are expected to pay one-fifth of the posted price. A good negotiator will pay one tenth. I am apparently not a good negotiator. Come on these people are professionals!
Fake market

We go to a bar with an excellent view of the city. Because we are not staying at the hotel we are charged a cover of 100 CNY which includes a drink. Seems like a wash to this tired tourist. I pay.

I have become too sleepy to go out, so I order room service including a glass of wine. By mistake they bring a bottle instead of a glass. I check the bill and see that 75 was added for the wine, so I ask them to only bring me a glass, not the whole bottle. Turns out it was 75 local currency (a bargain), so they pour me a glass and take the rest of the bottle with no impact whatsoever on the bill. They wonder why I objected. So do I.

Shanghai and I might need a re-do.


  1. Interesting. With all the conversions and confusions. Most of the debit cards do not work outside your host country unless you find the branch office of your bank which issued the debit card. I say branch office because in case the debit card doesn't work, you can always walk into the bank and they will help you

  2. Interesting Nona. my debit card worked everywhere up to now - even Tel Aviv and Istanbul. And I have never had an HSBC credit card not work before. But clearly you are right for this location; nothing worked the first day and now everything does!


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