We just heard from our friend Helen that she was this morning denied a tourist visa to the US for the second time. Frankly, I find this difficult to believe. She has just purchased a house in Shanghai, something which should go a long way toward proving that she is going to return to China after a short visit in America. She is going to be accompanied by her boyfriend Brad during the entire trip. When will they introduce sanity to the visa-issuing process? It makes me realize how incredibly lucky Xianyi and I were to have ever received a tourist visa. I feel like we must have been guided through the gates by an angel or something. Buddha sneaked us past the guards.