The town of Umm Qasr straddles the border of Kuwait and Iraq. It's said to be secure now, but there was pretty heavy fighting there a few days ago, mainly by the British, before it was secured. On TV news Umm Qasr looks like a collection of low buildings, the color of yellow-beige mud brick. Soldiers fire at it, shots are returned, occasionally there's an explosion. An anonymous town in a foreign land where there's a war.
But you talk to the locals, and you get an entirely different picture:
Switched to BBC. The anchor announced that the port city of Umm Qasr had been secured, and would be receiving humanitarian supplies within days.
"Sir, is it true," they asked me, "is Umm Qasr secured?”
"That's what he said."
"Can we go there?" This puzzled me.
"Why would you want to go there?"
"Dancing girls! Beer!"
Then it hit me – Umm Qasr is a border town. For these men, it holds memories of a different time, a time before war, when they could travel freely to Iraq, and do all the things not allowed in their own country.
Umm Qasr is their Tijuana.
Left radical is 'person' (人), right radical is 'fallen person', indicating a
change of state. It also may phonetically mean 'deceive', hence the associated
meaning of 'bewitch'. Henshall
suggests as a mnemonic: 'Bewitched person changes and falls.'