Saturday, September 12, 2009

We're Not The Only Ones Trying To Bring China To The US

For many months now, we've known that Professor Qiu, who graciously hosted us twice at Tongji University in Shanghai, was coming to America for five months this fall, to be a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Meeting Professor Qiu at Reagan National Airport, I was not exactly sure where I was going to be driving him that night. Sure, we had been in touch online in the weeks leading up to his arrival, and had discussed a number of ways in which he might find a place to stay in the Washington, DC area. But, as far as I was concerned, it was not clear that Professor Qiu had actually identified a viable option before getting on that plane and traveling to the other side of the world.

Now, this might strike you as not all that different than the four of us going all the way up to Manzhouli without a hotel reservation. My sense, though, is that it is much, much harder to find an affordable apartment in DC than it is to locate a vacant hotel room for a single night. While the adventurer in me loves the concept of figuring things out as one goes along, the worrywart in me views Professor Qiu as having ratcheted this process up well beyond anything we have ever attempted.

The story will, of course, have a happy ending. On the night he arrived, Professor Qiu directed me to drive him to a nice-looking guest house just off of Rock Creek Park, where he had arranged to stay for two nights while he searched for a permanent solution. And, last I heard, Professor Qiu was using his connections among Chinese government officials here in DC to help him out in this difficult process.

As an outside observer, though, I confess to being more nervous right now than I ever was when we were wandering the streets of Inner Mongolia. Now I understand how some of you must have felt when reading our accounts from afar!

~Steve

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