June 18, 2009. Rationing My Reading

Empty Alley. Too Hot to Hang Out
Empty Alley. Too Hot to Hang Out

It is very hot again today. The library is air conditioned to the point that it actually feels cool. It is the only place where the temperature is kept below 80. I read every word in the China Post today just to keep from going out. Much of the news I already knew from reading on the internet. I am sure this is why newspapers are dying.

I have been rationing my reading lately. The 4 books I bought in Hong Kong might have to last me a while, so I have been limiting my reading to a few minutes per session. I can usually finish a Grisham novel in a few hours, but I have been working on the one I bought Sunday all week, and am not half through it yet. The main library has such a poor selection that I will only go there if I am desperate.

I spend most of my time on the internet reading news, opinion, finance, humor, and gossip. I suspect that books will be going the way of newspapers in the future. Amazon.com’s new electronic reader looks great. I might have to buy one.

I just got home and

see the steel fabricator is asleep on his saw horse. They unloaded quite a bit of metal yesterday, I’m surprised he is not working. I didn’t take any new pics on my walk home today, so I might take a short stroll and take a few. They will be different views of things I have already shown. It is way too hot to do any exploring.

It was so hot this afternoon even the card games were gone from the alley.

My mission today was to get 999 (about $150.00 USD) new yuan notes to give to Vivian and Martin for their wedding. 999 is a traditional number. I am sure it has significance, but I don’t know what. Maybe I can find out at the wedding. The money is put into a special red envelope and presented at the wedding. I have seen the red envelopes everywhere, so finding one is not a problem. They must be used for all kinds of gifts.

Finding new 1 and 5 and 20 yuan notes may be a problem. The larger denominations are usually found new or next to new in circulation. Because of counterfeiting fears well used notes

are not accepted. The smaller denominations are usually well circulated rags. I have considered going into a bank with my red envelope and a note showing 999. But if I could find some small denominations elsewhere I would rather do that.

999 is probably too much for a stranger to give, but the family has been so nice to me, I am happy to do it.


I was able to get 999 in new notes from the bank on my walk home from the library. I followed my plan. I bought a red envelope on my way to the bank. Then I gave the teller 1000 and showed her the red envelope along with a note that said 999. She understood. It wasn’t a problem.

Tonight I walked to Wal-Mart for coffee. I did this instead of doing my laps in the park. I waited until almost dark to go, but it was still too hot. I stopped at the indoor market and got a couple of veggie filled pancakes which I ate on my way to Wal-Mart. I also got a few pics.

The coffee counter at Wal-Mart had disappeared. It turns out

it was moved to another place in the store and downsized. It only had about half as many types of coffee for sale. I hope they don’t plan on closing the coffee department all together, but it would not surprise me if they do. Chinese do not seem to drink much coffee.

Now I’m going to play a couple of games of chess before bed.


About Charles Kirtley

Have been living in SE Asia and China since 2007. I have an opinion on most every subject, and don't mind sharing them. Lover and collector of worthless facts.
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