29 - 9. THE CONFUCIUS TEMPLE
28 - 9. ACROSS SEA AND LAND
The lake in the middle of Jinan is the pride of the town and the park circling the lake is several hundred years old. Pensioners played traditional music and chanted, others performed tai chi. The park is pleasantly relaxed. A fast boat shaped as a tea-pavilion sailed us out to a tiny island with a temple and a pavilion where poets and sages long ago gathered and wrote poems. Green Car was fully charged and ready to take us to a holy mountain south of the city. We choose the smallest, steepest, narrowest
27 - 9. WITH A CABLE FROM FOURTH FLOOR
In the morning as we left Beizhou town we passed "China Solar Valley" with wind mills and solar panels on every street lamp. The land was totally flat. In the afternoon we crossed the Yellow River and entered Jinan the capital of Shandong - a small Chinese city we haven't heard of with six million inhabitants. At night we invented a string to guide the charging cable from the hotel room down to Green Car parked behind the hotel. It worked fine!
26 - 9. FROM HEBEI TO SHANDONG
Today we went from national to provincial roads. Workshops and industry line the road as we drive south through Hebei province. Behind the first row of houses corn, cotton, vegetables and chili! are grown. The Chinese are impressively industrious and nothing is to small, to dirty or to boring to make up a living. Smells are extremely changing. One moment it is vinegar acid, shoe polish, paper or manure, the next moment it is burnt plastic, sulphur and almonds. For lunch we have the best shrimps ever - finely deep-fried and all eatable. As we arrive at our hotel in Shandong province it is evening. Now you no more see the soupy, dirty air. The Chinese go out eating, the streets are bustling with people having a good time and the houses are illuminated in all the strong colors you miss during day time.
25 - 9. GOOD-BYE TO BEIJING
We were taking pictures of Green Car as it suddenly couldn't brake. Perhaps a loose connection? After we had checked all fuses and knocked on the right connections the brake luckily worked perfectly again. On the national highway south of Beijing we came to an area where they grew sweet, giant grapes. We bought a kilo which we ate in no time. Next came villages where they produced cardboard and plywood. In Daicheng the local industry turned out thermos-flasks and the air is bad even by Chinese standards. We found a cheap hotel admitting foreign guests - not a given fact. We settled in, hooked up Green Car through our room window and went out to pin down a Chinese meal.
23 and 24 - 9. I AM GREETING YOU FROM BLUE CAR
Blue Car could not get out of Russia without me. So I flew from Beijing to Blue Car which stood quite unhurt under a tarpaulin near the border to Finland. It only took me a few moments to follow Blue Car through customs. As Blue Car now had entered EU and was in safe hands I flew back to Beijing. Blue Car will be transported back to Sakskoebing, its place of birth, to have a full check-up. It will subsequently drive with us through USA, top-tuned.
22 - 9.
The most famous house in Beijing is a 600 years old wooden house. The perfectly round Temple of Heaven lies almost hidden in a big park of low, old cedar-trees. Dark blue tiles, golden dragons and red-lacquered columns. Big but not vast; not a cathedral rising towards heaven, but the edifice the emperor himself needed when once a year carried out the rituals to secure a bountiful harvest. The Chinese appears to me to be utterly pragmatic and the Ming-emperor seems to have been likewise. Chinese tourists from the great country mill around snapping pictures of each other posing in front of the old temple.
21 - 9. THE GREAT WALL
20 - 9. WHERE DID ALL THE BICYCLES GO?