This photo was taken only a week or so after I arrived in China last year. I was at a local park and attracting a lot of attention by just being there and walking around. There are hardly any westerners in the city where I live. A group of teens spotted me and worked up the courage to approach me. One of them, a bespectacled smiley- faced amiable lad, asked me, “Where are you from?” while his friends giggled hysterically. He was the only one of the bunch who could put together a question in English. I told them that I was from America. When the smiley-faced teen translated this to his friends, they wanted to know if I had any American money that I could give them in exchange for Chinese money. I explained that I had no American money. They were disappointed and didn’t believe me. The truth was that I had exchanged all of my American money after I arrived at the airport in Zhengzhou, China. It was useless, or so I thought. As time went on, other people also asked me if I had American money. They also wanted to trade their money for American greenbacks.
I regret not having held on to a few dollar bills. As a bit of advice, if you are going to live in China, keep a small stash of small-denomination bills from your home country to facilitate friendly cultural exchanges. The foreign money is a nice novelty for the locals to have.