Traveling in China - Page 2
Make sure you have your wallet/purse safely in hand. Pickpockets are plentiful. Also some will slit bags with razors and remove contents while you doze or are inattentive. Do not keep wallets in back pockets. Count change, it is expected that you will. Bargaining is common. Always ask for discount in hotels. Prices for goods in hotels are almost 5 to ten times what you can pay on the street. We bought silk scarves for $1.20 US on the street and the hotel wanted over $10 US for the same item. On the street or at tourist sites, when they quote prices, counter with a fourth of the price they ask. A brass replica of the Xi'an chariots is priced at the hotel for 659 Yuan. On the street, I paid 120 Yuan after they asked 300 Yuan. I purchased a terracotta soldier priced at 300 Yuan in the hotel on the street at 5 Yuan after they quoted 50 Yuan. You need to be firm. State your price and if they say no, you say goodbye and walk away. Sometimes when they quote a price, I grab at my heart as if I am having a heart attack and moan loudly. Then walk away and say goodbye (Daijin in Chinese), they will come after you. Bernice bought a Bai outfit for 135 Yuan that they wanted 380 Yuan. In 2007 the Yuan is currently 7.75 to the dollar.
Money comes in Yuan (their dollar) sizes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. Be careful of counterfeit money. Do not change money on the street. The Yuan is then broken down in smaller bills of 1, 2, and 5 Jiao. There is 10 Jiao to the Yuan. The new money now has metal strips in it to deter counterfeiting.
Glasses, shoes and clothes can be repaired on the street for very little money. Typically, a shoe repair may cost 25 to 50 cents US. A friend had a new lens made for her glasses in 30 minutes for 25 cents American.