In 1994, Irishman Graeme Allen arrived in Urumqi, China, the most landlocked city in the world. With barely a penny to his name and not a word of Chinese, he set about building a new life and career in China’s burgeoning tourist industry.
Since then, Graeme has immersed himself in one of the world’s most fascinating and confounding cultures. As China opened up its markets and grew into the second-largest economy on earth, Graeme moved between six different cities, working for the most renowned names in hospitality and eventually opening The Flying Fox, an Irish restaurant and bar in Shanghai.
This funny and revealing memoir explores a country where you’ll definitely need good guanxi (connections) if you want to open a business, pass your driving test or even get an anaesthetic before surgery. In fact, doing just about anything in China requires an open mind and a different approach than Westerners are used to, as Graeme has discovered a thousand times over!
Told with genuine warmth and affection for the country that has become his home and for the people who have welcomed him there, Is That Fat Foreigner Rich? is a window onto a culture so rich and diverse that it delights and astounds in equal measure.