Anyone planning a trip to China should know it will be one of the most fascinating, memorable and valuable of trips. Things are delightfully different from our lives: the involvement of children in social activities, which gives them great confidence as adults; the pride in culture that we’re missing a little in ours; the recognition that hard work can be its own reward; and the visible drama of history and culture that is apparent on city streets in that country.
Of course, one needs to be prepared for such a trip, and I thought I was, until the day I went into a bank in Xian and tried to withdraw some money. Was I out of money? No. Then what was the problem? My brain. I couldn’t recall my magic number. I looked at the wall behind the money machine. There were no helpful numbers written on that wall. It was, like most Chinese businesses, sparkling clean.
I did all the things I usually do when “stumped”: start with numbers, start with places where I’d used the machine successfully, pictured walking up to my ATM machine at home. Twenty minutes, and considerable underarm perspiration later, something clicked in my now-desperate memory…the right four digits. And I walked out with the money, without resorting to a bank robber’s mask, gun, or getaway car!
The “moral” of this example of my stupidity? To remind you to write your ATM number somewhere in your wallet or luggage, so you can retrieve it before going to a bank. Of course, disguise it, but not enough so that you won’t recognize it. I’d suggest keeping it in your shoe, but that is a very bad idea. Foot sweat will blur the numbers. Have a great trip!