Jim’s Quote of the Day:

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“There was another thing that the camels carried, and that was various forms of currency. The currency problem was an important one. Through that admirable institution, the Chinese Post Office, I had been able to transfer the bulk of our capital from Peking to points west by simply paying in a cheque at the Peking branch and then drawing the dollars at Lanchow and Sining. But the Mexican silver dollar which they use in China is a big coin, and the country through which we were to pass had a lawless reputation; a suitcase heavy with silver could not be relied upon to remain indefinitely an asset and might indeed prove a major liability. So we carried the minimum of coin– 600 or 700 dollars secreted in different places among our gear. With the remainder of our capital– rather more than a thousand dollars– I had bought in Lanchow a 12 oz. bar of gold which, besides being easily concealed, had the advantage of being negotiable anywhere where a file and a pair of scales were available. For the remoter Mongol communities, who often have no use for gold or silver, we took with us eight bricks of tea and a good deal of cheap coloured cloth, one or the other of which is always legal tender.” – Peter Fleming, News from Tartary (a book about an overland journey from Peking to Kashmir in 1935.)

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