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Fapiao and off to Wuxi

You may have seen this word appear in my blog from time to time. Fapaio? What's a Fapiao? Why? In China, fapiao (meaning invoice) is a tax receipt and works as an important accounting voucher for taxpayers to support the legitimacy of their economic activities. Part of my contract with Hangzhou International School entitles me to a list of benefits that I'm trying to take advantage of this school year. Travel, dental/vision, and wellness. For each reimbursement I want to cash in on I have to produce a Fapiao.

I didn't use the dental and vision benefit last year and I regret it. Trying to get all that I can out of my benefits this year. I've already had a dental visit and basic cleaning, but my benefit is way more than just that. I can total about 3500 RMB worth (about $500 USD). I'm on my way to the dentist right now and I feel a bit weird about it. I'm going for a teeth whitening procedure. I've done some research on it and the type my dentist offers is solid and safe. I feel weird about it because it feels vain. I don't know. Writing about what I'm doing on a daily basis is like living a transparent life. It's a weird feeling. How much donInshare? What do I kerp just to myself? I've become a regular coffee drinker over the past twenty years and my teeth are paying the price. I seem to notice when others have a whiter smile and I would like to have the same. Let's see how this goes. Anyway, to get reimbursed by my school I'll need to produce a Fapiao receipt.

Another 3500 RMB benefit is for general wellness. I used this one last year to pay for some golf and I've already paid for the golf this year, but I haven't been reimbursed yet. This is my Fapiao paying for golf. I will turn it into the school before the middle of the month and it will show up as reimbursement in my next paycheck.

I need to look into it a bit more, but I believe I have one benefit still left that I can cash in on. It's travel related. Taxi, train, etc. I'm needing to seek some more input about the most convenient way to use this one. I know I'll travel in the country more this school year so it should be easy to use. Aiyun and I are considering a few different trips this winter. Perhaps Harbin for the ice festival or somewhere warmer towards the south in the Sanya area. Maybe both? I got my travel expenses from flying home this past summer reimbursed and had to produce Fapiao receipts for that as well through trip dot com.

I had to acquire some printed Fapiaos from my emergency room visit earlier this summer. This was on my checklist for Monday. My insurance company will reimburse me for these costs too. It's not much, but as long as I'm in the Fapiao collecting habit I'm going to take care of that one as well.

These Fapiaos are common and businesses are always prepared to offer them upon request. It's their nationwide form of an invoice. I'm guessing that everytime one gets created the Chinese government gets a notification as well so they can track things. I doubt the average American would be cool with this idea of having all their transactions tracked by the government. Maybe it would make things simpler at tax time? Not sure there. My first year it felt like a pain, but I'm not minding so much this year as I have a grasp of what I'm doing.

In other news I'm headed up to see Aiyun today in Wuxi. The only ticket I could get for this trip was a business class seat. It's much nicer in the business class lounge with lots of empty chairs, couches, and tables for relaxing. I had to produce my passport when I entered and they gave me this number(79). Not sure why, but I'll display it at my table as I chill before heading back out into the masses to board my train.

Our plan tonight (or possibly tomorrow) is to have dinner with Aiyun's sister, Aihua. Meeting her younger brother Xiang went well last weekend in Shanghai. Did I mention he's a neurosurgeon? Little sister is a doctor too. I believe she works in a lab. I'll learn some details either tonight or tomorrow.

Business class seat. In my best Borat voice, "Verrrry Niiiice!" Yes, those are slippers on the ground waiting for me.

Complete lay flat bed option with digital controls. Bottle of water and snacks waiting for me. Video screen with access to movies. Two stewardesses serving only six business class seats on the train. I didn't want/need anything from them, but I got handed a bottle of Coke regardless. Cost for the luxury treatment. $38 USD for the one hour and forty minute ride at just over 200 mph. Not bad.

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