Tag Archives: China

Asian Money Sure is Purty

Ben, a family friend, recently got back from a trip to Asia.

One of these illustrious Bens is our friend Ben.

One of these illustrious Bens is our friend Ben.

His daughter lives in China, so off he went to visit her.  After catching up, he took the opportunity to gad about Asia a bit.  His itinerary included, besides China, visits to Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Ben's trip to Asia

We have a collection of foreign money that friends and family have given to us.  I wrote about the coins in a previous post – Naked People on Coins and Other Fascinating Numismatic Discoveries.  Ben was nice enough to bring home a handful of paper money for the kids, in duplicate even (so there would be no fighting).  I couldn’t believe how vibrant and colorful the money was!

Rainbow money

I decided this pile of rainbow money was blog worthy.  And since I am writing a post, why not turn it into a contest?  I am not running a suburban soccer league, so not everyone will be a winner.  Of course, there is no prize or even recognition beyond the microliter of fame awarded to those currencies mentioned on my blog, so the banks of the countries that lost have nothing to fear.  But if it does get back to the Prime Minister of the Philippines, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, that I voted his country’s currency my favorite out of all 6 that Ben brought back, maybe he will send me a postcard.  Or even better, a nice plate of lumpia!  So let’s get to it.  The winners are…

1.  Volcanoes and Parrots and Whale Sharks, Oh My!

The Philippines won because of the awesome things they put on their currency. And the wonderful colors, they must have one hell of a colorist in their mint! I did NOT give the Philippines the gold medal to curry favor with my friends Arnel, Rowena, or Danielle, in the hopes that they also might give me a lovely plate of lumpia.

The Philippines peso won because of the awesome things they put on their currency. And the wonderful colors; they must have one hell of a colorist in their mint! I did NOT give the Philippines the gold medal to curry favor with my friends Arnel, Rowena, or Danielle, in the hopes that they also might give me a lovely plate of lumpia.

2.  Kiss My Bhat.

Thailand won the Silver, because they have made no concessions to the billions of people on the planet who don't speak Thai, or are even unable to recognize the Thai alphabet.  Are you having a hard time trying to figure out where the hell this bill is from?  Too damn bad.

The Thailand bhat won the Silver, because on their money they have made no concessions to the billions of people on the planet who don’t speak Thai, or are unable to recognize the Thai alphabet. Are you having a hard time trying to figure out where the hell this bill is from? Too damn bad.

3. Smooth Like Buttah.

Okay, the Vietnam dong has had some serious work done.  No, I'm not kidding.  It's called the dong.  Anywho, these are the smoothest, softest, silkiest bills I have ever felt!  I want to have jammies made out of them.  And they have these cool peekaboo windows on them, that are see through.  Kinda kinky.

Okay, the Vietnam dong has had some serious work done. No, I’m not kidding. It’s called the dong. Anywho, these are the smoothest, softest, silkiest bills I have ever felt! I want to have jammies made out of them. And they have these cool peekaboo, see through windows on them. Kinda kinky.

4 -6. Thanks for Participating.

Like I said, someone had to lose.  Actually, there were 3 not winners.  The fact that the Cambodian riel puts "Bank of Cambodia" on all the bills was very persuasive, as was the big, brown elephant wearing a nice set of pearls.  And the caligraphy, pagodas, and pictures of Mao (which is just one letter off of Mo) also compelled me, but not enough to sway my vote.  But still, lovely currency, all of it.

Like I said, someone had to lose. Actually, there were 3 not winners. The fact that the Cambodian riel puts “Bank of Cambodia” on all the bills was very persuasive, as was the big, brown elephant wearing a nice set of pearls. And the calligraphy, pagodas, and pictures of Mao (which is just one letter off of Mo) also compelled me, but not enough to sway my vote. But still, lovely currency, all of it.

So there you have it, the first and last Asian currency contest.  I know many countries were missing, but you will have to take that up with Ben.  I could be persuaded to have a second currency contest, but that would require many many many more examples of currencies to cross my palm.  My greedy, sweaty palms…

 

 

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Lala and Wen Jiabao, the Premier of China – Their Untold Story of Forbidden Love

First and foremost this is a love story.

Think Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Anne Romney and her horse, Mitt Romney and his wallet, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.  I know, everyone thinks that last one is over, but I say not.  Clearly, if you have looked at the photos in US Weekly of the alleged encounter between K-Stew and her former director Rupert Sanders in a car parked on the side of the road (which I felt I had to, to discuss them in this post), he is OBVIOUSLY just looking for HER KEYS!  She dropped her keys people, Rupert is picking them up for her, that’s it, end of story.  I can’t accept that Bella and Edward…I mean Kristen and Rob…could end this way.  But I digress…

I got a call a few days ago from an old friend of the family, we used to see her every day, but she and my daughter have kind of lost touch over the years.  She lives in L.A. now.  She asked me if I would come up for a visit, so I hopped on the 5 North and was there in a couple of hours.  I met her at her house, where she shared with me the greatest secret of her life.

Lala looked the same as ever, as if she hadn’t aged a day.  Such a lovely shade of yellow, polished screen in the middle of her tummy, antenna and ears as perky as ever.  But I noticed a shadow in her large eyes, and her smile seemed strained.  I asked what was wrong, and she told me her heart had been broken and she wanted the world to know.  Broken by Wen Jiabao, the Premier of the People’s Republic of China.

Our love, she said, was completely forbidden.  I was hidden by him for years, whisked off to secret meetings where we stole a few precious hours of happiness.  The only people I was allowed to tell were Tinky Winky, Dipsy, and Po, not even the giant baby in the sky or the Noo-Noo knew.  Not that they were much help.  Tinky Winky was so busy playing the field, he couldn’t understand my commitment to Wen, my willingness to sacrifice.  Tinky wouldn’t know true love even if it walked up to him and tried to sell him a lifetime subscription to “Why Don’t You Find a Nice Girl and Settle Down?” magazine.  Dipsy’s name didn’t come out of nowhere, and Po was so immature, that I was basically alone.

She paused for a moment, staring off into space.  Not that it was all bad, she finally continued.  I spent some of the happiest times of my life with him.  She got out some photos to look at, her eyes misting up several times as she gazed down at all that was left of her moments in the sun with Wen Jiabao.  Here, look at this one.  We met President Obama, such a nice man, and I wore my fanciest pink tutu.  He told me I looked beautiful, and that Sasha had one just like it.

Here is photo of us on one of the vacations we took together.  It was my birthday, and Wen surprised me with a trip to the Great Wall.  I don’t know what lie he came up with to keep his wife Zhang from finding out, but we spent 2 blissful days together.

Of course, it was very rare that we got away, between my television schedule and his running a country.  And even when we were together, we had to pretend it was for something else, like our weekly Tai Chi class.  It was difficult to be so close to him, and yet so far.

Well, we all know how the story ends, don’t we, Lala said with a combination of bitterness and regret in her voice.  My show was canceled, he is still with his wife.  I knew in my heart of hearts he would never leave her, but I kept on hoping, right up to the end.

It was time for me to go, I wanted to get back to San Diego by dinnertime.  I gave her a hug, told her not to be such a stranger, that our door was always open.  I inquired about her weekend, she told me she was thinking of looking up an old friend who has had some recent, highly-publicized romantic troubles of his own.  Last I saw, she was Googling directions to Robert Pattinson’s lonely mansion, ready to lend him a plush yellow shoulder to cry on.

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