Expats in Sleepy Lijiang

Date Written: 30.08.2013 Place: Kunming, China Time: 17:42

Yesterday, in Lijiang, it absolutely poured it down with rain. Being caught in it; I stomped my way back to the hostel and had to change my clothes in order to hang them up to dry before my train back to Kunming that evening – departing 21:28.

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A few hours later, with still very damp clothes and an unrepairable drenched iPod, I was getting hungry. So I put on my red woollen jumper my mum had knitted me and my wet jeans to head out. I then spotted a poster in the hostel advertising a pub named “Stone the Crows” – “lowest prices in Lijiang'”

I followed the directions and was surprised to see it was a rather small bar, with a welcoming dinginess, sparsely decorated with Christmas Lights. There was an Irish man behind the bar – “hellooo!”

“Urrr… Do you have a food menu?” I said.

“Um, not really.” But the poster said food, cheap food! “But we are about to start cooking a barbecue if you want some?”

I looked left to which there certainly was a barbecue inside the pub with mountains of meat ready to be cooked!

Excellent – I sat down and was also given a ‘Beer Lao’, a beer from Laos of course! Then a Welsh guy, I assumed help run the bar with the Irish guy, sat down and chatted with me.

He asked me about my travel plans with almost immediately asking ‘so no plan to go home then?’

I soon learnt he’s been living in China for 2 and a half years and not once visited home during that time. Nor has he missed it either.

He did mention his mum however did come out to see him last year.

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We were talking about the experience of Christmas abroad before his barbecue duties meant the conservation had to end. He started cooking the BBQ which I soon filled myself up on!

I noticed 4/5 westerners in the bar and realised no matter how far you are from home you will always crave the foods you ate when you were there. And there’s sure as hell nothing wrong with that.

But what a contrast; an almost British summer barbecue, inside an Irish pub, down a wet alley, in sleepy Lijiang.

I later arrived at the train station early to find out my train was delayed. Nancy, a Chinese girl I met a few days before, kept me company for an hour or so before getting her train. I did not board my train until 23:35.

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