This may be one of the most mindblowing things i learned on this trip, so I am putting it in its own post separate from the other logistics post. Since there is no FB here, everyone iuses WeChat. Itâ€™s a social network, messaging app, and most interestingly, a payment system. People here use WeChat to pay for *everything*. Every single store. Every single hotel. Every single restauarnt. They all accept WeChat. I was talking to a tourguide and she told me that nobody uses cash anymore. Seriously. Nobody really uses cash. Cash is dead here.
She said that she has 300Y in her purse just in case for emergencies, but it has sat there for months untouched. Even at the veggie market or at outdoor foodstands, they all accept WeChat. She said that sometimes even beggars on the street will have a WeChat QR code and you can pay them using WeChat. Yes. There are beggars that accept WeChat. How is it that back home in San Francisco, we have some bars and restaurants that are cash only and cant even handle credit cards, yet here *everyone*, whether they are a tiny mom and pop shop, or sell trinkets on the street, or sell kabobs from a cart, or just about anything else.. Everyone here can use WeChat. People here think of cash as something that only really really old people use.
Yesterday, as I was scrambling through ancient Buddhist caves, I came upon this beautiful golden buddha statue. To the right, there was a donation box just like you see next to buddha statues all over Asia, to the left there was a WeChat QR code. Yes. Even buddha accepts WeChat.