Monday, June 30, 2008
When in Rome (or China)
Tuesday (7:30 am)
The entire family and our interpreter took a taxi to a nondescript government office on the sixth floor of a building in city center to finalize the adoption paperwork.
The 40 by 20 room room was hot, with a row large windows facing out into the street along the left wall. A large conference table dominated the room and official looking plaques and flags adorned the walls, so it resembled a VFW or American Legion Hall--only all the adornments were red.
The male director of the orphanage and a female teacher (both in their early 30’s) were already there and a Provincial Government official (a pregnant woman in her late 30’s) showed up a few moments late. We signed a few documents and then pressed our thumbs in red ink and placed the thumbprint directly over our signature.
After the paperwork was done we waited a few minutes for another, higher ranked, government official (a professionally dressed women in her late 40’s) to look over all the paperwork and declare it okay. Thankfully she did just that.
Since we needed cash our interpreter took us to a branch of the state owned ‘Bank of China”. We simply wanted to exchange about $100 in cash, $150 in traveler’s checks and take $250 out of our bank via debit card.
The branch had 9 available lines staffed by young workers in smart red (with a little white) uniforms sitting behind bulletproof glass. After about 20 minutes dealing with one teller Donna managed to exchange the American money, but that was it. The teller seemed to suggest we had no money in our savings account for the debit.
Donna then went outside to the bank's ATM and instantly did the withdraw/exchange herself. I went to another line and spent a few minutes filling out a form to cash the travelers checks. She then handed me another stamped form and said go to Line Seven.
There I waited another ten minutes for the single person in front of me to complete a transaction. In the middle of this a man came up to the next window and tried to get service. They sent him away (probably to another line on the other side of the office) and he started shouting (probably because he had just waited in that line).
I worried the police or military would take him away but after the shouting match with two separate bank employees lasting a couple minutes ceased, he sat down and they serviced him.
The young man counting out my money never even looked up. After 45 minutes we finally exited the building with our Chines money. The American banking system has nothing to fear.
EYE see you
Built overlooking the river Nanming (means South Bright) by order of the Emperor, the wooden building lasted longer than he did (500 years and counting). The disgruntled workers crafted the dragons on the roof to be looking backwards, a sign of bad luck. Proved that way for the last emperor of Ming Dynasty (who had a very brief reign).