In 2006, when Brazilian musician and bar-owner Delei Duarte received an invitation to work as a guitarist in China, he did not hesitate to accept.
Duarte, then in his 40s, closed his bar in Brazil and traveled to Datong, a city in north China's Shanxi Province. The following year, he moved to Nanchang, capital city of Jiangxi Province, east China, where he met his wife and started a life that far exceeded his expectations.
Now every night, the Brazilian man, with his curly hair and often sporting an aloha shirt, presents Bossa Nova, a popular Brazilian genre of music, and Chinese pop music to customers at his newly opened restaurant bar in Honggutan District.
Since settling in China, Duarte, now 60, has opened three bars, all named after Bossa Nova.
Over the years, he has witnessed the great changes that have taken place across China. From paying in cash to digital payments, from eat-in meals to the fast development of food delivery services, all of which have provided him with further enthusiasm for life.
"Things change and can't stay the same forever, and more changes are on the way," said Duarte. "I remember the first time I came to this city, there were only a few buildings in Honggutan District and not many people lived here. Now we have more subways, bridges and parks. The city has become beautiful."
Like the city, the businessman is constantly embracing change. Several months ago, Duarte and his wife decided to close their popular bar and open a restaurant instead.
"I hope that our business can keep up with the changes in consumer spending habits. In the past, they mostly cared about the taste and portion size of the food, but now they pay more attention to the dining environment. That's why we retained the live performances at the new restaurant," he added.
Duarte has gradually integrated into the local life. To him, music, family, friends, local cuisine and traveling have become indispensable aspects of life, and he hopes that his life in China will continue to be rich and fascinating.
Duarte jokes that, despite his advanced age, he is essentially just a "big boy" enjoying life with youthful enthusiasm.
"I just want to be a big boy happily living this beautiful oriental dream," he said.