Foreign bar owners settle down in beautiful Tibet

10:30, June 29, 2011      

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Owners of Dunya Restaurant &Bar, Jannette Madern (3rd, R), Fred Madern (1st, L), Kristin Schrama (2nd, L, Rear) and Rene (2nd, R), sit in front of Dunya with two children of Kristin and Rene, Yara (2nd, L, Front) and Noah (1st, R) in Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, June 27, 2011. (Xinhua/Li Ying)

The double-decked Dunya Restaurant &Bar, in a Tibetan decoration style but offering international cuisines, stands on the busy Beijingdonglu (Beijing East Road) near the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. The yellowish paneled front door topped with colorful beams shelters a culture-mixed place frequently visited by local residents and foreign tourists.

The owners of Dunya are two foreign families -- Jannette Madern and Fred Madern, a couple from Dutch, and Kristin Schrama from U.S and her Dutch husband Rene, who have lived with Dunya for a total of 12 years in Lhasa.

"My husband and I came to Tibet for the first time as tourists in 1985 and we were both fascinated by the amazing natural scenery," said Jannette. "We came back again in 1999 and made a big decision to stay here on a call from the bottom of our hearts. We opened Dunya that year. I was so excited and rode a bicycle to wherever I like in Lhasa," recalled Jannette with excitement.

The word "Dunya" means "the world" in more than ten languages like Hausa, Turkish, Nepali and Bahasa Indonesia. "Our home on the roof the world welcomes all the people around the world -- this is why the word Dunya was chosen," said Jannette.

"Our dishes are also specially made for various tastes," said Jannette. The English menu serves a wide range of cuisines from yak enchiladas to Indonesian noodles, from the oregano-flavoured pizza crust to the Italian imported pasta besides the traditional food of Tibetan ethnic group like Thukpa and Momos.

Calcimined with terracotta and decorated with local cultural photos on walls, the Dunya has 14 waitresses, all of whom are Tibetan ethnic group people and can speak fluent English. These details render Dunya to attract numerous tourists all the year. During the peak tourism season, Dunya is one of the most popular dinning places in Tibet and sometimes customers have to wait for an hour outside for dinner, according to Jannette.

The past 12 years allows Jannette to witness the great change of Lhasa, where the roads are much cleaner and the city becomes more crowded than before, according to the bar owner. "We have spent twelve years together with Lhasa and we feel right at home," said Jannette.

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Source: Xinhua
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