One day, America will realize its money isn’t very friendly to blind people. When I travel abroad, the different sizes of foreign currencies is one of the first things I notice. It’s also really convenient to have your bills in different colors; then, when you’re looking for a 20, you just need to (subconsciously) remember that you’re looking for the orange one. Apparently, there’s one bill I haven’t seen yet in China; it’s the 2¥ note. Here’s what I have seen, though. I happened to have one of everything today, so I snapped a quick picture:
The top six bills are whole yuán notes; the bottom two notes are 1/10th notes, properly referred to as jiǎo, but commonly referred to as máo. Five máo, for example, equals half a yuán. Oh, I should also mention that yuán is almost always referred to as kuài, especially for small amounts, e.g., 3 kuài, 5 kuài, 20 kuài. I think most people would say 1000 yuán and not 1000 kuài, however, which leads me to think that kuài is kind of like “bucks” in American English. “How much is that?” “Two bucks.” “2 kuài.” Lastly, you can see the only example of a coin I’ve run across so far in China; it’s a 1 yuán piece. I kind of hate getting them because it feels like I’m lugging around a freaking bank with me when I have them in my pocket, compared to the feather lightness of paper bills, but obviously coins are easier to use in things like automated ticketing machines, e.g. in the metro. We don’t have a metro here in Yángshuò, so I don’t much need to use coins.
For some perspective, the 1 yuán piece is about the size of a quarter, and the 100 yuán note is worth about 16 USD.