Guangzhou_Day 1 The house

I see a bed. On the bed there are toilet rolls and a blanket that I cannot look under. I see a cupboard with a pot that contains something I have never seen before. I see boxes and bags marked with strange signs stored everywhere. From close by I see the bottom of a shoe and a hand. It is the hand of Jane Yun-ai.

Outside is Lung Kwok-ho, Jane Yun-ai's husband. He stares at me and I stare at him. I would like to know what he is thinking. I think as loud as I can 'hello', hoping that my words will become visible, like a cloud hanging above me. I look above his head. Maybe there are words from him to see.

On this first day I am a guest in the house of Lung Kwok-ho and Jane Yun-ai in Xiaozhou village. We are separated by three languages. Ief speaks English into the bottom of his telephone. At the top, the words come out of the telephone in a language that the interpreter understands. I know that words are movements of air. I imagine that the English words fly through a labyrinth of corridors, locks and gates and come out like Chinese words on the other side. The interpreter listens to the computer voice of the telephone and translates these words into Cantonese. I have no idea in which words I land with Lung Kwok-ho and Jane Yun-ai.

People come and go in the house. They sit on me. Jane Yun-ai cooks. She likes to laugh and often. They eat with a sort of stick. The TV is on and I hear music that seems too fast. The music and the sticks, the strange signs. Tik tik tik.

My host in this village, James, speaks outside with a group of police officers. He explains to them that it is their duty to help a stranger who is a guest here, even if it is a rope. They should not hinder me, even if they lay me on streets and in markets.

In the evening they take me to my sleeping place. A small display window somewhere in the narrow streets of the village. A passer-by looks at me and remains standing. I see her lips moving. There are no air passages and interpreters that translate her words. Her words rise as unintelligible clouds. She wonders what I am. I wonder who she is. I have never been so far away.

Rope.