By SAJIU FENG
BEIJING (China Daily Mail) – A terminal alcoholic has startled fellow wastrels by announcing his decision to settle in China.
“I moved here unintentionally a couple of months ago,” recalls Harold Evans, 48. “I had to find somewhere to go fast, after being made to leave Thailand in completely outrageous circumstances.”
Evans – a traveller, writer, bon vivant and self-confessed “dreamer” – has spent much of his life on Streatham High Street, London.
He arrived in China following complications arising from a lack of visa.
“I never intended to stay more than a few days but this place got a hold of me,” Evans frankly admits, standing on the terrace of a popular uptown bar and addressing his remarks to a throng of non-English speaking students below.
“I’ve only been in China for two weeks and I’ve have already had my phone stolen twice!” he later marvels. “I’ve mistaken my hotel room for someone else’s apartment and admitted things I’ve never told anyone to a Yunnanese barman whose face I can’t quite recall.”
Evans confesses it was difficult to make the transition at first, as he’d considered himself to be at the peak of his drinking trajectory.
In just nine years, the retired brewery consultant has guided at least two marriages onto the rocks, lost an eight-year custody battle to a Valium-addicted former wife and embarrassingly forgotten the names of “more people than I can possibly remember.”
Yet Evans longed for something more.
“I had to look at myself and say: ‘Alright. Enough’s enough, Barry,’” the former hod-carrier told China Daily Show. “‘You had a good innings in Blighty – some might say one of the best – but it’s time to move on, while you’re still on your uppers.’”
Indeed, just four days before setting off on a short break to Thailand, Evans successfully lost a darts match at his local tavern, before falling over in the pub’s car park and soiling himself.
Still, he admits that China is not quite the gilded playground of cheap backrubs and bottomless ergotou it first appeared.
“There have been setbacks to the rule of lawless,” Evans warns. “The relatively recent introduction of a drink-driving rule is one notable fly in the ointment. But I get round that by simply not driving, and instead puking in the back of a rickshaw.”
But despite such restrictions, the successful British booze-artist says the scope for serious alcoholism in China is even bigger than it is in the West– and growing every day.
“It’s going to be the next big thing, China,” Evans muses, dabbing an unexplained bloodstain on his jersey. “A surging economy, loose borders, cheap ale. Count me in.”
And he has good advice for anyone wishing to follow in his footsteps.
“Never give up: life is full of surprises. Every day is a new beginning. Seriously – I can’t remember a bloody thing about yesterday.”
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