After reading MD's adventures in Guangzhou, I also got something to say...
When I visited Guangzhou many years ago, most of the paper currency I got from transactions were old, tattered, worn, or soiled. The people there also preferred you to give them such notes as they were scared that new notes could be counterfeits. If you gave the cashier a new note, especially a 100-yuan note, she would peer at it from every angle before deciding whether to accept it or not.
Last year when I revisited GZ, there were more new notes but some small sales and food outlets still preferred you to give them small or old notes. I wonder if they use new notes in their ang pows.
The picture below was taken during my first visit. It shows the 'Journey-to-the-West Park' inside Yue Xiu Park. During the second visit, I went to Yue Xiu Park again but the other Park was gone.
The Xi You Ji Park was an interesting place. You could see the mythological characters from the famous classic folklore Journey to the West - bull demon-king, iron-fan princess, spider spirits.... There were also the torture chambers in Hell. Pity they didn't keep it. I think it was because of the high cost of maintenance.