entering the dark restaurant from the lower level of the mall
We left the Great Wall and had an uneventful bus ride back to the hotel. We relaxed in the pool area for awhile before dinner (of course!) and then we got dressed and ready to go out. We really liked the Peking Duck we had the night before, so we had the concierge recommend another place to try nearby. She directed us to a place below the mall next door. It looked small on the outside, but opened up pretty big once we were inside. I don't remember the name of the place, but we got excellent service. We were seated right away, and there was a hoard of waiters, hostesses, and bus boys doting on us. None really spoke English, but they understood us enough to place our order, and it wasn't long before the chef was carving our duck next to the table.
Peking Duck again...delicious!
It was pretty much the same setup as the night before, except they omitted the plate of lettuce. No matter, it was delicious! We got some other side dishes with our duck, but we skipped the live fish this time!
After we ate our fill, we got the bill and all chipped in each share to settle up. We were finishing our drinks and getting ready to leave, when our hostess came back and held up a 50 RMB note. "Ahh, have another one?" she asked, in broken English. Umm...were we short on the bill? No, Dave said, he added it twice...and they don't take tips here. "Didn't we pay enough?" we asked her, but just got a quizzical look. She didn't understand us, and we weren't sure what she was trying to say.
Our hostess took this photo of us...shortly before she asked us for "another" 50!
"umm, need different"
she said, and placed the 50 on the table with a smile. "Different??
Why, is something wrong
with that one?" "Is that bill fake?"
She gave us another confused look. Clearly the words "fake" and "counterfeit" were not part of her limited English vocabulary. She held up the bill again, and searched her memory for a word that might fit, that we would understand. " is untrue!"
she said, holding the note up to the light. Ahh! ok we get it now. "Guys, this bill is counterfeit!" said Dave. "Who slipped in the bogus 50?" "Hmmm.
Chinese McDonalds (we did NOT eat there!)
..I put in a 50," I said..."but I got all my big bills at the money changer..I'm sure they're real!" A quick check around the table revealed that I had to be the culprit, as no one else had paid with a 50. "Did you get it in change someplace?" Lee asked. "No, I don't think I got any bills that big back in change anywh.. hey, wait a minute!" I thought back on my hurried transaction earlier today at the Great Wall Marketplace. The wall hanging I bought for 40RMB, she wanted to sell me 2 for 80, I said no. I told her I would only buy 1 for 40, IF she would break a 100. She all too readily agreed...now I can see why! She gave me 60 in change, and the 50 was fake!! I took the questionable note back from our hostess, and gave her a (real) 100....she smiled, nodded, and hurried back with my change. I held the bill up to the light, and compared it to the real one she gave me in change. It was a very good facsimile, but subtle differences were apparent upon closer examination. Most notably, the paper felt different. But, it had the same glittery numbers, even a MAO watermark! Clearly it was much better than just a fancy photocopy of a real one. Certainly it was good enough to fool a naive American tourist in a hurry to get back to his bus! A pretty good scam...even though I knew what stall I got it from, I'm sure she was pretty confident I wasn't going to come back the next day...take another hour and a half ride for 50 RMB? ( this is only about $6 U.S.) Frankly, I think the story alone is worth the 6 bucks! I tip my cap to her...I'm sure that Chinese lady needs it more than me! I tucked the bogus bill into a side pocket of my wallet...so I didn't inadvertently spend it again...and now I consider it a souvenir to go along with the wall hanging!
After we left there, we had a craving for ice cream. There was a Dairy Queen in the mall, but we rememberd passing a Haagen Daaz on the way in, and decided to go there. Sure, it's near the McDonalds and the Starbucks! Honestly, Beijing looks like pretty much any American city...just the signs are all Chinese. I think fast food places are definately our main export here! I got a double-scoop chocolate waffle cone for 52RMB... and I wondered who would go through the trouble to make counterfeit bills that weren't even enough to buy an ice cream cone! Then I thought about it, and realised the ice cream actually cost more that the wall hanging I bought! In any event, I wasn't mad at all about being slipped a fake bill...in fact, I was rather amused by it. I did notice though...the Haagen Daaz cashier ran our money through a bill checking machine! I guess slipping bogus bills to foreigners it not that uncommen here! Oh, well....we enjoyed our ice creams on the way back to the hotel!