Category Archive: Travel Blog

Dec 04

Hilton Garden Inn Liberia Airport – Costa Rica

Rview of the Hilton Garden Inn at Liberia Airport in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

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Dec 02

Best Western Vista Villas – Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Overall 4/5 (physical 3/5, location 3.5/5, view from oceanview rooms 5/5, staff 5/5)

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Aug 08

Galapagos Trip: Planning and Day 1 (Newark and Miami)

This is the first in the series of Sara’s trip to the Galapagos. Planning and Day 1 (Newark and Miami) Days 2 and 3 (Miami and Ecuador) More to come… I booked a flight with my old college roommate, Cathy, to the Galapagos Islands to visit a friend we knew in college. We used …

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Aug 02

Use your Smarts (Phone)

I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods Store a couple of weeks ago. Apparently there was a 50% off sale on, among other things, wetsuits. I was a bit dubious thinking, “But half off of what price?”. Turns out they were $70-80 originally (about average, maybe a bit above). Awesome! Then I got worried that they …

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Aug 02

I’m leaving on a jet plane–to the Galapagos

I wanted to write this MUCH earlier but work has been hectic.  My college roommate and I decided to go on a trip to the Galapagos, both to take in the sights and to visit an old friend from college.  So here is my projected list of things to bring on this trip.  Any last …

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Anatomy of a counterfeit 100 yuan bill

There are likely many types of counterfeit 100 yuan notes. There are, however, a few things to look for that should give you an idea of what to look for on a legitimate bank note.

First, let me start with pictures of the front and back of a legitimate 100 yuan bill.

Front of a real bill

The red half-circle in the left hand corner, when held up to the light, lines up with its blue counterpart on the back of the bill in the lower right-hand corner.


Back of a real bill

Note the placement of the blue half circle in the lower right hand corner.  When held up to the light, this will line up perfectly with its red counterpart in the lower left hand corner on the front of the bill.


Resulting circle on a legal bill

When held up to the light, this makes a complete circle with a small square inside it.


Next, here are pictures of the front and back of a counterfeit bill.  On this counterfeit bill, that circle we encountered before doesn’t appear in the corner, but towards the middle of the bill towards the left…

Front of a counterfeit bill

Back of a counterfeit bill

…and the right sides. And when held up to the light…

Counterfeit circle doesn't line up

the halves do not line up.


Serial number:
Obviously, if you take out multiple bills and they have the same serial number on them, it should be a dead giveaway. But if you only get one counterfeit bill…

Same serial number



Visible watermarks

The denomination watermark on these counterfeit bills are visible without holding it up to the light. This 100 to the right of the green one would not be visible on legal currency.

Visible watermark


The texture:

The texture on the counterfeit bills are very coarse, having been more recently printed. A legitimate bill will have been worn smooth.

Real (Smooth)

Fake (textured)


The silver bar at the center of the bill:

If you hold a legitimate bill up to the light, you will see a solid line running down the center. If you look closely, you’ll see RMB (standing for renminbi, the name of the currency). If you see these two things, you are in possession of legal currency.

Silver bar running through the center

Silver bar says RMB (sorry that it got blurry when I shrunk the pic)

The counterfeit I have does not have a dark line down the center, nor the RMB printed in it.

Only light bar down the center with no RMB printed inside it


Color change:

The denomination should change color. On real currency, the 100 changes from green to blue.

Real bill held upright (before)

Real bill (after turning it)

On the fake currency, the number stayed green.

Fake bill (and you can of course see the watermark)

Aaaaaand presto

You can also see the watermark of Mao’s mug pretty easily from this angle 😛


As I said before, I am sure that there are a lot of different kinds of counterfeit bills.  However, I hope that any one of these details can help someone to spot a fake bill, should they ever encounter one.

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Jul 23

Update on Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC): It still sucks

I had given up on getting through to ICBC. When I was still living in Korea, I had tried handling the matter at an ICBC branch in Seoul. For newer readers, the matter I’m referring to is my having withdrawn 300 yuan, at the time about $45, from an ICBC ATM in Beijing. This money, …

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Feb 18

Free Travel Genius Kiva Challenge

Kiva and our Leap Year Kiva Challenge

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Feb 03

A Portuguese Thanksgiving

When I lived in London, I had three flatmates: a guy from England, a guy from Germany, and a girl from Portugal. I was so excited to get to live with people from such diverse backgrounds and cultures. It was a great opportunity and I was all for it. Cut to November of 2010. I’m …

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Jan 20

The Phoenician and Scottsdale, AZ

A review of the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale (Phoenix), AZ in January 2012 along with other hints about vacationing in Scottsdale.

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