All that glitters
is not gold
by Charlotte Mcpherson
Australians are known
for traveling the world before settling back
down in their beautiful homeland. Like many,
they want to see and experience the world.
I had the opportunity
to be on assignment and travel all over Europe,
the Soviet Union, China and other places in the
Near and Far East in the 1980s. There are a
handful of cities around the world that have the
ability to draw me back again and again. Some,
like London, Hobart or Beijing and Karachi, do
so because of the sheer visual pleasure of
wandering around the streets, soaking up the
sights and ambiance of the city. Others, like
Sydney, Paris and Berlin, fill me with
excitement and a sense of joie de vivre at just
But there are only few -- where I not only
love the city and find its people both
interesting and friendly, but also get enveloped
in the enormous sense of history that seems to
put an extra lacquer, so to say, onto everything
I see. Prague is such a city. So is Istanbul.
I live on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. I
don't have as much time as I used to do to go to
one of my favorite place, the Üsküdar ferryboat
pier. I used to have more time to go and sit on
a bench by the sea in nice weather and engage in
my favorite pastime -- people-watching. Of
course, on the European side the best place to
go is the Grand Bazaar (known to be the largest
covered market in the world).
When I people-watch, I don't just look at
what they are wearing but try to imagine based
on clothing and facial features what the person
is like. I believe it was the British statesman,
Lord Chesterfield who said, "You must look into
people, as well as at them."
Another past time I have is collecting
samples of different paper and coin currency
from different countries. Hopefully none of the
money is counterfeit!
In 2005, the new Turkish lira was introduced.
The link for Turkey Travel Planner explains that
with the change to the new lira, there's been an
increase in counterfeiting of the new Turkish
money, especially of YTL 50 notes. It's done two
* Counterfeit notes are printed that do not
have all of the official security features
* New Turkish lira with the official security
features are altered to show a higher value
(i.e., a YTL 1 note is altered to look like a
YTL 50 or YTL 100 note)
If you are unsure how to check your Turkish
lira, visit this link and learn how:
Of course, it is not just the YTL. Other
countries have counterfeiting problems. If you
have a $20 bill in your pocket right now, do you
know how to check its authenticity?
Counterfeit bills are actually difficult to
detect -- if people don't know what to look for.
It is worth purchasing and using one of the
special bill marking pens.
Some say that you can't even trust a bank
these days. One Today's Zaman reader wrote to me
recently and said that she believed she received
her counterfeit money from a bank but could not
prove it. Well maybe the day has come we need to
take more precaution and write down the serial
numbers of every bill we collect and the name of
the person who gave it to us...
Another Today's Zaman reader who I saw in the
bookstore this past week told me that she had
just been given some YTL 1 coins and the center
of one of the coins came apart in her hand. It
wasn't from my bookstore staff!
Counterfeiting is not just a problem
overseas, but at home as well:
David Nichol, a Times-Herald staff writer,
reported that Arkansas police issued a warning
about counterfeit bills in 2005 to help
Arkansans identify fake f ok$20 and $100 bills.
Some of you may remember hearing about the
counterfeit ringleader, Ricky Scott Nelson, who
in 2002 produced and successfully circulated
hundreds of thousands of dollars in fake cash.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, it says
he did it this way:
"He used mostly old-style $100 and $50 notes
-- without the invisible markers implanted in
post-1996 series currency -- that enabled his
cash to fool many people and local retailers."
How can you protect yourself?
Whether you are a normal person taking your
change at a store or you are a merchant
accepting cash in your business, you need to be
aware of the counterfeiting problem. Certainly
we all need to look more carefully at any
higher-denomination notes to make sure they are
legitimate. A few seconds' inspection often
The Spanish writer Cervantes was right when
he said, "All that glitters is not gold."