Beijing is often described as a city of contrasts, and its expats are no exception. One night you’ll find yourself surrounded by overcoats arguing over the property bubble, and the next you’ll be admiring the sequined shoes of some student—all while sipping your beer at the same establishment. Everyone’s story about how they ended up in the Big Smoke is different, but after a few beers, here are 20 expats you’re guaranteed to meet.
1. The 30-year-old history professor who gets thrown out of the pub for arguing with the quizmaster over the exact year the Qing dynasty fell.
2. The tax evasion expat arguing with the business major expat over whether or not they should pay taxes to their home country.
3. The girl who followed her boyfriend to Beijing and isn’t feeling the smog, the spitting and the-oh my god- why can’t “they” queue?
4. This person “really travels,” has “seen things” and will forever know more about the city you live in than you. After breathlessly telling you their life story, they’ll take a break to tell you they’re really proud of you for “getting out there.”
5. He speaks multiple languages, knows how to party, and also secured a high-paying job as a free-lance translator. He’s in China to master Mandarin, but with the visa situation like it is who knows where he’ll end up.
6. Models that like Shanghai more than Beijing.
7. The recent college-graduate who is experimenting with all the drugs the Middle Kingdom has to offer, but won’t try edibles because “that shit over here makes you paranoid.”
8. The 29-year-old wannabe Sinologist who wants you to follow his Tumblr because that’s where the real stories are being told. (No VPN required).
9. He drove his motorcycle across England when he was 12, in high school traveled Europe by hiding in train carriages and may or may not be a compulsive liar.
10. Pale, slightly overweight and not afraid to ask you how much you make per month, every time you see this dude he’s out with a new Chinese girl who’s wayyyy out of his league.
11. Arrived in Beijing a week ago and LUVZ IT.
12. Arrived in Beijing a week ago and HATEZ IT.
13. Continues to translate everything to American dollars even though they earn a Chinese salary and live and work in China.
14. The 28-year-old investment banker who wants to take you out to dinner so you two can “discuss your employment options.”
15. The student who asks for a business card and then departs the bar, never to be seen or heard from again.
16. A missionary hoping that one day they can invite you to our church.
17. The 32-year-old named Steve who got sick of the 9-5.
18. A hutong hipster who rode their bike to the bar and has strong opinions on where you should buy your produce.
19. The kindergarten teacher wearing shoes embroidered with cats.
20. The rude freelance journalist who judges everything you say. (Sorry)