Friday, June 15, 2007


Our guide’s full name is Wang Rui. He studied English and Law at Sichuan University, and is about 30 years old. He had difficulty finding a job as a lawyer, and thus is our interpreter, storyteller, and local travel agent. As a child, his nickname was Xiao Hu, or Little Tiger. His older brother (Da Hu, or Big Tiger to Rui) is a musician who plays the drums and accordion all around the country. I suspect he is a starving artist, which would be a rough life in a country where a whole lot of non-artists are already starving.

I have taught in a university and advised statewide candidates for office, while Rui explains his province’s historical treasures in simple, digestible bites to tourists and adoptive parents. He is no less talented than I; he is likely far more talented. But he will lead a very different life than I do because of an accident of birth.

If somebody with some clout is reading: open our nation’s borders. Open the god damned borders now.

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