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

Ancient Garden

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).


Mary E.Carey said...

Sounds like my recent dealings with my car insurance company.

O'Reilly said...

I'm looking forward to the photos. The last ones were really nice.

So Larry didn't go all Francis Costello on the banking functionaries in China. You remember the character Francis Costello in The Departed... "cause in THIS country it's customary for one party to bring the goods and the other party to bring the money..."

Helen said...

Great photos Larry! It is interesting to see the old and new so close together, with such a drastic difference in architecture.

Tommy said...

Wow, how cool it is to be watching a video of China via Larry Kelley in the ultimate People's Republic! However, revolution will come to China before it comes to Amherst.

Max Hartshorne said...

Larry love the dispaches from China. brilliant hide out from Amherst ha hahaha. No. really congrats on the new addition!

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, hard to believe I have left the politics of Amherst behind.

And I've almost forgotten the Board of Registrars hearing into Awad/Hubley right to vote (much less hold office in Amherst) is this Thursday (but it will be Wednesday night here)

Let's hope the local media has not forgotten.

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