The American artist turned out to be a woman. In retrospect, city officials had only themselves to blame. They should have done more research. They should have asked around. In their defense, though, her work did not betray her gender, and she went by just one name. In their defense, their country was known for being a little slow, and very far away.
Despite their surprise they treated the artist with the utmost respect. She had been invited to put their city on the map, after all. She was to create an installation meant to bring tourists from Europe, America, China. Pretty restaurants and Continental-style bars were already popping up in the slums in expectation. The very plan for her work had grown the economy, was creating jobs—phrases like these were becoming familiar to the city officials via optimistic international news reports. The city officials were excited. Their plan was working already. Already, it seemed, they were on the map. So they booked the American artist a room in a hotel on the wild river, where all night monstrous trees were whipped around by the wind, and birds the size of children dove for silver fish. She was fed local specialties—fish and grains and fruit and mollusks she’d never known existed—at meals with local dignitaries (though, curiously, they all ended up having to leave before midnight, forgoing their customary cigar).