Reader to Reader | Essay | Chicago Reader

Reader to Reader 

Outside Beijing's Forbidden City, where my wife and I were on vacation, there were crowds of hawkers and hustlers and touts, including one incredibly ancient guy with a battered, hand-painted sign reading, in Chinese and English, "Massage." He heard us talking and approached us crooning, "One dallah massage. One daah-laaah." We said no, and he drew himself up and uttered a stern sentence in Mandarin. I thought he was cursing us, and I asked one of our Chinese companions to translate. She listened for a moment and said, "He thinks that Afghanistan should turn over Osama bin Laden."

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