After finishing university I came out with some debt that needed paying off ASAP. I had previously taken out a couple of credit cards which mainly went on buying music equipment to help with my coursework. My plan was to finish university, find a job, any job, and pay them off. Things didn't run so smoothly as my trip to China came just seven months after finding work (which I was happy to get out of anyway). Then, once again, I used my credit card to fund the plane trip from the UK to China and back. I never expected I would want to come back to China after my holiday, but it felt so much like the right thing to do. I guessed I would be able to pay off my credit cards while working in China -- surely no problem.
In fact, there were many problems, and I found out that it is impossible to transfer money from one bank account to another without being completely ripped off. The final blow came when I travelled back to Hangzhou, went to the HSBC -- who I have an account with -- and failed to put any money into my account. Why? Because HSBC in China only deals with domestic transactions. The world's local bank indeed.
Now, with Kimi's help I have saved up some money and exchanged the Chinese Yuan (RMB) into British Pounds. The first time I did this was here, and the second time was just a couple of days ago. I now have a worrying amount of cash to bring back home with me when I come back at Christmas (all £50 notes too).
It is an especially good time for me to exchange money because of the terrible economic disaster going on in England. I remember four years ago when I came to China, the exchange rate was GPB 1 = CNY 15.4. When Kimi exchanged my money the other day, it was an incredible GBP 1 = CNY 11.8. But today I was shocked again. Things have changed dramatically in just two days. On Windows Vista, my exchange rate gadget is now telling me this:
That is a fair amount of extra money I could have got with my RMB if I had waited just two days. I can only assume it will get worse now that Gordon Brown has revealed recession is happening. I think it is time for everybody to leave England and come to China.
Finally, my seven-day working week is now over!