Owen Daniel

Marketing Consultant; Events Manager;

Journalist & Author; Web Developer & SEO Specialist

Beijing by Night

As darkness approached, we ventured towards a one of Beijing's market-style street full of eateries. I got out-voted and we opted for some all-American cuisine. After we ate and sank a few beers, we bumped into a group of Egyptians chilling outside a cafe. I was so excited to be able to speak Arabic for the first time since India, so we ordered a shisha and joined them for a while.

Egyptian Habibis in BeijingIt transpires there are about 60 of them out here in Beijing working as engineers, all staying in the same hotel. After I told them about my time in Egypt doing parties for Ministry of Sound; it turns out a few of them attended events I’d promoted! We are also mutual friends with Cairo's Nile FM DJ Carlos, the world is tiny at times.

Amr, the shorter guy with dreads, invited us downtown to a bar with him afterwards and Rolley, Nicki and I gladly accepted. Despite our 5am start for the next day’s trek up the Great Wall we hung out till the early hours with Amr, Moh and Moustafa laughing and joking like we’d been friends for years.

One of their friends said she had met a guy whose brother worked in Changzhou as a teacher just last week. Incredibly this was Daniel’s uber-cool older bro, Matthew, who I'd met while he was over here visiting. The other Ellis (otherwise known as Jellybean Martinez) has just been awarded “Best Scottish Comedian of the Year Award”. So, within hours of arriving in a city of 25 million people – a place bigger than Belgium – I meet two people who know two sets of friends of mine at home in Changzhou and in Egypt. I’d love to know what the statistical probability was of that happening. Mish mumkin yanni!

Meeting the Egyptians made me remember how much I miss hombres. I made so many incredible friends there and these days, I’m ashamed to say, I’m barely in contact with half-a-dozen. Malesh. Ana asif habibis.

This was certainly an epic highlight of my Beijing trip and I’d like to thank the Egyptian guys for being so damn cool and hospitable – as always. Shokran katir and Enshalla I’ll see you again.

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