Saturday, April 10, 2010

Who needs a $200 bill?

So I have apparently been teaching for nine months now, if you take out the vacation time that is.

According to our contract, they hold the first two weeks of our pay. Then when you've stuck it out for nine months, they give you back a week of it. They hold on to that other week to make sure you stick around for the next three months.
I guess the $30,000NT bonus at the end isn't enough for some people so they had to tack on that extra $14,000 or so.

So for the next week I'm getting double pay. That's nice. Of course, this was all accounted for in my budget and so it must be sent directly to my bank account never to be seen at again until I'm ready to pay off bills or travel.

I have, however, gotten to see some interesting money.

I've already told you about the $2000 bill in all its purple glory. It's slightly longer than the other bills and in general a major pain in the butt unless you're going to make a pretty large purchase or just put it in the bank.

Every time I've gotten one I've just put it in the rent pile or given it to the bank in exchange for the funds I send home for my student loans. (Insert grumblings about student loans here.)

A few weeks ago though, I found this really random looking coin in my bag. It took me awhile to realize it's a $10NT coin and not some random other money. It just looks so sleek and new and it has the random circle on the back of it that's a different texture from the rest of the coin.

According to Linda (my Chinese teacher) they were trying out a new look for the coins, but people decided they didn't like them and that they were still very similar to the old version (I mean they are still silver and the exact same size, but so?) so the government stopped minting them.

But today, well today I had a special discovery. I got really confused when the accountant at school handed me this:

It's green!

I don't know about you, but when I see green money I automatically think American money. This was especially true since all the money in Taiwan is red and blue and purple (Purple. How can you take this seriously?). At least I thought it was.

Someone told me the $2000 bill was elusive, well I hadn't even heard of the $200 bill until last week. And why would I?

It's the equivalent of the American $2 bill. In theory, it's kind of cool. But in practice, it's kind of annoying.

The way things are priced here, it's rare you would need $200NT and if you do, why not just use two $100NT bills or a $500NT bill. Chances are you have a ton more of those than $200NT bills. If the government really wanted anyone to use them enthusiastically it would make more of them. But it's stingy with them, and that's because they know that they really don't fill a need.

They're simply not necessary.

They are kind of nifty looking though. They're very clean (not like "not dirty" clean — though I suppose that's true too given its lesser use — but well organized). And I would guess they're more difficult to forge than the average $100NT or $500NT bill.

There are quite a few water marks and this one strange spot on the right side of the bill that looks like a guy wearing a dou li (those pointy bamboo hats) in the back of a red truck driving through a dessert. (For the record, I'm sure that's not what it actually is, but it's kind of hard to tell so I'm letting my imagination take over.)

Anyone know of any other infrequently used currency out there? I think it's kind of interesting.

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