and to my delight the lady working there also asked me if I needed stamps, and I was like, whoo, this solves a big problem, sparing me the trouble of making myself understood at the post office with my non-existent conversing in Chinese...so I ask for 15 stamps, for the 15 postcards I bought, she types numbers into her calculator and gives me a final sum that leaves a perplexed expression on my face....hm, sorry, how much is the postage??? - 8 yuan she replies (1.20 dollars) - I know postage in some countries is high but thanks to the hundreds and hundreds of cards I have received from China, I immediately knew something was fishy here (otherwise I would have probably believed her and fell in her trap - thank God I actually said NO when she previously said she was gonna stick the stamps on the cards for me...very crafty from her side - and the only reason I said NO was because I do want to arrange the layout on my own cards not because I actually suspected she would try to trick me..
Anyways, after I told her 8 CNY is too much and that I would take the cards only, she said - ok 6 yuan, good price! good price! - who the hell is bargaining for a postage rate??? it is either 6 or 8 or whatever other amount it may be but this was just an additional sign she wanted to rip me off (and she was disappointed her plan didnt work out - I wonder how many tourists have fell into this trap at this particular spot)
after this I asked the Chinese community at postcrossing about the postage rate and believe it or not it is either 3 CNY for surface mail or 4.5 CNY for airmail, but of course it is neither 6 nor 8.
I know that with mail from China in the end it may make no difference whether it is airmail or not, but I decided to go with the airmail and see how it goes
so armoured with a dictionary, pieces of paper on which I have written the amount of stamps I need (simply as 15 x 4.5 CNY), i go to a small post office that is right in my street (how convenient) and ask for stamps (thankfully they did speak English in the amount necessary to get the stamps). So I buy 15 stamps, 4.5 CNY each, the lady at the counter types in the numbers on her calculator and shows me the final sum of 135 CNY - I already had a 100 CNY bill in my hands and again give the calculator a confused look (I really start wondering what the calculators have against me). The lady at the counter reluctantly takes my bill and says, but this is too little money...I know she may not be versed enough with the numbers in English, but I thought that maybe some common sense should have told her that 15 stamps of that rate could not possibly cost 135 CNY! So starting to get a bit pissed, since I dont know anymore if someone is trying to rip me off or if it was an unintentional mistake, I open the calculator on my phone and am about to show her the math, when she does her math again on her own calculator, and oh look. this time it showed 67.5...and she cant believe her eyes, she is all surprised..so she does the calculation again - 67.5....and then again, just to make sure - yeah 67.5...so I finally manage to buy stamps at the ACTUAL price and go back home
for my 'experimental' postcards' sending from China, I decided to go with the official cards, mainly cos I haven't sent any since I left Macedonia, so I do want to work on it a bit and get it back to shape...so i get the addresses (nothing exciting there) and write my first 5 cards out of the 15 addresses, and just in case add EUROPE after the country's name to the cards going to EUROPE - and the next day excitedly go to the post office (a different one since it was on my way to where I was going...I see a counter with stamps so I ask the lady where could I mail my cards - she takes them, inspects the stamps and if the postage is sufficient - passed the test. And then she says 'but you also need to write the country;s name in Chinese'. Ok..wait, what?????!!! (honestly, this thing did cross my mind but just crossed it since I remember most of the cards I had received from China, had something in Chinese near or below the name of the country) - I thought it may not be a real need to write them in Chinese but turns out I was wrong - first she couldnt read the names of the countries in English, I had to tell her that one was for Taiwan, and she was kind enough to write it down for me in Chinese, and that the rest were for Europe (which she had to look up on the phone for how to write it in Chinese) - yeah, she was helpful indeed, but I certainly cannot always go to the PO and ask for the people there to write the names in Chinese...so here is my clumsy attempt to do so...I still havent finished nor sent these, but makes me wonder if they are ever gonna reach their real destination - and before you ask me, no I absolutely do not know the names of the countries in Chinese - just relying on google here ....
so that's not really how I expected my first attempt of postcards sending to be :D let's see what the outcome of this story is going to be...
Anyways, if you like one of these cards let me know and Ill try to mail one to you...if I manage to get your country's name right in Chinese that is :P