October 22, 2006 - Guyuan, China
Today was a notable day here in Guyuan.
First, and most importantly, I am now an official resident of The Peoples Republic of China.
After a lengthy medical exam, three months, a plethora of copies of my passport, my medical reports and my foreign experts certificate, six visits to the Guyuan Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, 800 kuai and seemingly hundreds of red thumbprints, I have my residence permit.
I took a nap.
And secondly, I saw my very first laowei in Guyuan.
There, in front of the school gate, was standing a slightly awkward looking man - a large hiking pack on his back and front - gawking at the large stoplight in the intersection. As students, cars, motorbikes and tractors poured past him, he stood and waited - oh so patiently waited - for the light to change.
Poor guy didn’t know the stoplight was out.
I thought as I crossed the street with my newfound - and quite official - countrymen.
The poor guy is probably still standing there. Maybe you should take him some food.