THAT (that) wrote,

That's Right, I Said "China"

I have been talking to my friend Alex and it looks like I'll be going to China next summer. He's been living there since the summer of 2006. He teaches English at a small college.

At first, he wanted to take me to the Great Wall, to Lhasa, to see the terracota warriors & all that, but I convinced him that I really don't care about seeing the sights. Having a friend who lives there and speaks the language is far more compelling to me than any itinerary; I just want to hang out while he does whatever he would have been doing anyway.

He's been making some inroads as a folksinger. He recently rented an apartment in a building attached to a theater. In the old days—say, 20 years ago—it would have been unthinkable for a foreigner to weasel his way into what was once a state-run arts housing complex. But now, what was once a tightly controlled arrangement is a much more fluid situation. This type of social transformation is far more interesting to me than any archeological site, especially as it directly affects a friend of mine.

I'll be buying my tickets in January.
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