Friday, January 14, 2011

Lesson for Today - not all Red Bills are the same...

Another beautiful day in China. Sunny, clear skies but freezing! I wore my longjohns to the Summer Palace but I swear the cold was still cutting through. I tried to stay warm by hopping about, people must have thought I was nuts but at least it was working! :)
Since we've been here, I have seen children walking around with Panda Winter hats...I have to admit that I was slightly envious and it was immediately put on my wish list. My thoughts were, 1. it would be great to wear to the Toronto Zoo once the Panda's arrive (how jealous everyone else would be, ahead of the fashion trend!) and 2. what a great Christmas card it would make...all the Gallant's dressed in their Panda Hats!
Well, after being approached several times at the Summer Palace to purchase these hats, I finally caved and started negotiating with one woman for 4 hats. Once price was reached I called Gilles over since he was the gatekeeper to the funds. He handed her over a 100RMB (a red bill) and she complained that there was a tear in it and requested another. So, he took the bill back and gave her another. Well, it wasn't until a few minutes later after talking to our guide about our purchases that she noticed the bill in Gilles hand. It wasn't Chinese currency but Taiwanese (another red bill but no Chairman Mao...lesson learned). She of course went back to the woman, accused her..and of course denial. We felt foolish and no not from the hats, but it was a $15 cdn lesson learned. A few minutes later another woman came up to us and offered to take the bill off our hands in exchange for a silk scarf. I agreed since I thought what the heck would I be able to do with it but it was only afterwards, on the way back to the hotel that we learned our guide had threatened to call the police. She told us that it was common for them to work together as a team and most likely wanted the 'evidence' back. Just another another story to tell Chayse when she gets older.
All that drama for these Panda Hats...I know you want one too!
Summer Palace was beautiful and it must be just stunning in the spring/summer season.
Tomorrow will be a day of packing or repacking since we are only allowed 22kg/per person. I really don't know how the heck we'll manage it but at least we will have the day to figure it out. In the evening we will be heading off to see the Chinese Acrobats and then off to Nanning in the morning! WoooHooo! :)


  1. We loved summer palace, we had a chinese lady buy our Julia a panda hat. WE were warned about the bill switch thing there, they said it was one of the worst places for it. :(

  2. Thank you for the information. We're -hopefully- not too far behind you (ETA 02/10) and yes, we must have panda hats, too. Btw, do you have any relatives in Massachusetts? DH uncle's last name is "Gallant", too and he still has family in Canada. Just wondering...
    Take care,
    LID: 05/24/06
    DOR: 12/17/10
    TA: ?

  3. Well, I suppose you could have been suckered for a lot more, right? And you got the hats. Beautiful pictures, by the way, I don't remember it being that nice.


  4. Great hats!!! Too bad about the money :( The palace is great in the spring, I could have spent a couple days there. The acrobats are great, have fun and watch out for crazy employees shining lasers to stop people from filming!!

  5. Amazing pictures!! Great Hats!! Looking forward to your post on connecting with Chayse. Be safe!! xxxooo

  6. Great picture! The hats were worth it!