HK Magazine: Why did you decide to open up a café in Tibet, rather than in Hong Kong? Pazu: I first visited Tibet in 2001, and I liked it so much and I have always wanted to go back. Later, I got to thinking, why don’t I just move there? It seemed a wonderful place to open a cafe. Although I don’t earn much, there’s far less pressure running a business here compared to Hong Kong, and the rent is cheap as well. I’m not aiming high, and I’m no coffee expert. I just like the atmosphere of cafés, and I have a lot of free time to focus on my writing. HK: What’s life like in Tibet? P: I really enjoy it. I wake up every morning at about 11am. If my staff has already opened the café, then I’ll go get something to eat, pay a visit to the temple, go on a bike ride and then later go down to the river for a wash. Normally, I’ll be back at the café by 6pm. HK: Do you have to compete with Starbucks? P: There’s no Starbucks in Tibet yet. Overseas chain stores still haven’t arrived here—probably because the profit margin is so small. Coffee isn’t that popular in Tibet. We’re the only café in an area full of pubs. We’re really relaxed and don’t have fixed opening hours. We can be open at 10am, but sometimes, we don’t get going until 3:30pm, depending on whether it’s the summer or winter. Then again, we stay open until 2am if we’re busy. HK: Who’s your clientele? P: It’s about half Tibetans, half tourists. We’re a mid-range place, with the cheapest coffee in the house costing about $6. It’s funny; my coffee shop has become a must-see for Hongkongers traveling to Tibet. HK: What’s the difference between working with Tibetans and working with Hongkongers? P: There are some cultural differences. For instance, the staff might stick their fingers in the tea when serving. But it’s a minor problem that can easily be fixed because Tibetans all are nice and friendly by nature. I’ve learned a lot of things from them, for instance, how to burn yak feces in order to fuel the heater. It used to take me forever to start a fire. HK: Have you introduced any Hong Kong dishes to Tibet? P: Stir-fried instant noodles. At first, people thought that it was disgusting, but then I explained that it’s just like fried rice, only using noodles instead of rice. Now it’s a very popular item. HK: Does it feel weird being back in Hong Kong? P: Not at all—I’m used to life in both countries. My friends sometimes ask if I find it difficult to adjust to Hong Kong’s pace, but it’s not a problem at all. When I walk around in Wan Chai, which is where my home is, I find myself practically running down Hennessy Road! Learn more about Pazu’s café from his book “Spinning in Tibet” (in Chinese only), available in all major local bookstores, or from website www.spinn.cn .