Many of you know I am recently back from Peru, a short trip mostly on business. Even though it was short, I found out that a lot is going on...
First, a couple of pictures of Peruvian women... Below is our Administrative Director Lily with her two granddaughters, she has every right to be proud. Left to right: Alondra, Lily, Camila
Below are (seated): Alondra (4 months) w/ her mom Isabel, Denise w/ her daughter Camila (1 year), standing are Grandma Lily and Great-grandmother Ana. Someone was gracious in telling me that Ana looks like Queen Elizabeth!
Why is everybody all bundled up? Because it is winter in Lima, and Lima is cold in July (say 55 degrees at night) and very few people have heat, it is "not needed" because it does not get "very cold". Right.
I did not have a long time there, but Roberto and I were able to get out and visit a customer. Here we are visiting our customer "Rodatin", in the back you can see "Iljin" Hub & Bearing Assemblies (blue boxes at top). L-R: Our warehouseman Erick, Sales Director Roberto and Mr. Tineo Correa, the owner of Rodatin:
(I like Erick's shirt, take a careful look...!)
Another wall at Rodatin, with our promotional material on the wall for our four brands, KBC (Korea), Iljin (Korea), MBS (Japan) and Delfu (China):
The topic of counterfeit money came up while I was down there. For years this has been a well-known problem in Peru. They fake both US currency and Peruvian soles.
I was told NOT to bring US $100s to Peru whose serial number begins with "CB", as sometime ago somebody counterfeited a LOT of them using that prefix. Those "CB" prefixes are from the Bush era, Paul O'Neill was TreasSec. If you are going to Peru (or elsewhere in South America), don't bring $100s starting "CB".
The ones I had to bring back I took to my bank here. I asked the branch manager to have them checked with whatever Top Secret way they have to quickly check for fakes. She said run them through the bill counter, I replied that I wanted some checked to see if they were counterfeit, not how many "CB"s I had. She told me the machine checks automatically... I did not know that! How much are those machines anyway, I asked? $425. Hmm...
They do not just counterfeit US currency there, but Peruvian soles as well. The counterfeiters do a pretty good job, all things considered. People with a lot of experience with Peruvian money (like our Collections Director Raul) can tell right off, but if you collect 1000 soles from a customer in 20 bills of 50 soles each, you would spend a lot of time checking each one... So, in some cases we just let the banks catch them for us. Unlike in the USA (where the banks confiscate the counterfeit, they just give it back to you in Peru). Since counterfeits are worth zero, I asked Cesar if he would let mew just have them...
Below are a fake 50 soles note (top) and a genuine one (bottom). The picture is not good enough to allow you to see the differences.
Below is a similar picture for 20 soles, again, the bad one is at the top. Here, however, you can see the fake bill has the "2" and the "0" too close together (large purple numbers left of center):
Peru has had the misfortune of getting bad gifts from Colombia, as the government of Colombia has been cracking down on counterfeiters there (they have been famous throughout Latin America as the best), so some of them have moved to Peru and set up shop there.
Also coming to Peru are the "sicarios", drugged-up & crazy assassins of the cocaine mafias from Colombia. Peru now exports more cocaine (finished product) than even Colombia now... Not good.
My last anecdote was my experience upon re-entry into the USA. My wife asked me to buy some Peruvian food items for her, but I was only able to get just one thing (all the others came in glass containers, and I only had a carry-on bag). All I could bring back was a 500-gram bag of "frijoles canarios" (yellow beans from Peru). On the plane filling out my Customs Declaration, I chuckled to myself that Customs would give me some "extra attention" because of a $2.00 bag of beans was all I was bringing back...
Yes, the Customs Man told me to follow the "Yellow Dots" for secondary inspection..., LOL!