found a payphone


Have you ever tried to find a payphone in China after your phone credit dies and you gotta wander a dimly lit street looking for a store with that big orange public phone but really you won’t even find that big orange phone these days but you still ask  “ni hao, ni you dianhua wo keyi yong ma?” and an auntie clutching a baby in one arm says “bu bu bu..meiyou…” dismissively like you asked for a blank VHS tape and nor does she know of any other public phone? I’ve lived in China for almost six years, and until tonight I’d never seen a pay phone that accepts coins.

Never seen a coin-operated payphone in Pudong airport either. Fucking PVG.  Payphones in China use an “IC Card.” This is the payphone cousin of the “IP Card,” that weird international calling card that says 100 RMB but can be purchased for as little as 25RMB. Big convenience store chains like Lawson and Family Mart don’t sell these cards but the xiao mai bu or lil corner shop will probably have them.

Well…finally found a proper pay phone tonight on Changle Lu. Domestic local and long distance calls for just 1 mao per minute! That’s ten minutes of talk time for like twenty cents. Incredible. Calling the  US, Canada, or Singapore? Just 1RMB per minute, or about six minutes for a dollar. From a payphone! How much did that cost in like 1985? But if you need to call Nigeria, Ecuador, or anywhere else, that’ll cost you 8RMB, or about $1.20 per minute.

Do Chinese kids make prank calls? Do American kids even make prank calls anymore? I remember teenage days of a county sheriffrif showing up at my friend’s’ parents’ house after someone made an extended and troublesome series of calls as a mentally special character named “Bobby.”

This phone looks like good cheap fun. Hoping for more coin-operated payphones. This song reminds me of payphones at night.

Jam City – Pink Snow

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