C hina is a land full of myths and legends, locals and visitors not only notice when watching the state television news. One of the most popular stories told from Hanghzou is that of a snake who, with divine help, transforms into a beautiful girl, falls in love and gives birth to a child. But because she forbidden to drink a monk's magic potion, the monk locks her up in a tower and announces that he will only be released if she has dried up the Western Lake and brought the Lei Feng Tower to collapse. As the millions of visitors annually see, there is still water in the lake and the tower is still standing. This is because, after two decades, the now grown up son touched the goddess Pu Sa in such a way that she persuaded the monk to release the prisoner. From then on, everyone lived happily ever after.
Full of positive energy, we set off for Fuzhou, which is no fun, because by then the longest stage of the Audi Trans China Tour has to be overcome . Apart from the lunch break, the entire route consists only of the motorway, which is a particularly shame today. The route leads through a beautiful area in which steep mountains jut out of the ground like kite teeth, terraced fields pour over narrow valleys on which golden-yellow grain stands, while on the slopes it grows incessantly in lush green. What would we give one more day and a foray through this landscape?
Europeans should take an example
In addition, that which was covered with high fog and smog for a day has also become Weather rattled until late morning. The pale pane in the sky struggles through and becomes the sun again. It darkens every few kilometers, however, because the two-lane motorway leads continuously over stilts and through countless tunnels. 'But they are in top shape. The Europeans can take a slice of it,' says partner Jörg Petersen, who works for Schweizer Auto-Illustrierte and with this statement is risking his status as a frontier worker with the federal authorities /p>
Anyone who drives into a Chinese motorway tunnel is immediately startled because suddenly a loud voice speaks to them. It does not come from the radio or the navigation device, nor from your own head or fromlittle man on his own shoulder. The voice is female and speaks from the tunnel. However, it is not a haunted snake and a haunted girl, but simply a loudspeaker announcement, which is intended to warn those entering with a loud noise to stay in their lane, to respect the speed limit and to keep them from stopping.
It goes without saying in Chinese, in constant repetition, the monotony of which is sometimes interrupted by a well-rehearsed police siren. You suddenly feel like you're in a James Bond movie. It would take you an hour to save the world at the other end of the tunnel, but you only have five minutes because someone raised the alarm. And so the siren howls, and the indifferent computer voice announces. This thermonuclear world annihilation facility destroys itself in 295 seconds. We wish you a nice day.
Mark Knopfler in the ear, the canyon in front of us
Apart from the fact that as a highway traveler you can't stop and take a photo of this beautiful gorge over there on the right, which disappears from the viewfinder after eight seconds at 100 km /h, we also have a nice day . In the entertainment database of our Audi Q3, Mark Knopfler is creaking on the guitar, we are well fed after our lunch break, and Taurus is sinking into the comforting unconsciousness of a digestive nap in the right seat, when he suddenly starts up again because the car and is surrounded by lots of Chinese. 'Nothing works up there,' says Jörg succinctly.
It is one of those traffic jams where, without prior consultation, everyone knows that there is no hope. One person makes the start, gets out, one goes to smoke, all others also set up their own home. As a result, the area around our Audi Q3 mutates into the entrance to the men's room. A full bus load brushes past the rear and eases itself beyond the guardrail. In China, the juices have to flow, traffic jams are unhealthy, not only on the road, so lengthy compliance is frowned upon. Then the natives let their curiosity run wild and want to know from Jörg what we are doing here, because another dozen Q3 and Q5 from the escort vehicle are parked in loose succession on the hard shoulder.
It was so close. The start of the traffic jam is only 200 meters ahead of us. The cause is not a serious accident or a broken down truck, but a couple of rubber pylons that were set up by the police officers lounging next to them. The road is closed - yes, but why?
News service rumor mill
Because China is a country that Knowing from long experience how little the media and official statements can be trusted, the Chinese use the method xiao dao xiao xi, which translates as “news of thelittle way ”means and means rumor mill in good German. Thanks to SMS, this is blooming in the age of mobile communications, and one of our local companions said she did some research on her cell phone and found out that the Vietnamese foreign minister is visiting, who cannot be expected to face traffic jams or the normal, everyday madness on China's highways. And so we are now stuck in a traffic jam.
In Germany, the police would have to quickly fight off an increasingly angry mob who asked them with questions like 'Do you actually know who I am' or 'Do you have any idea how a lot of money this delay will cost me, 'bombed. In China you stand around or have a chat or take a nap. Next to the driver's cabs of the trucks, small piles of rubbish made of fruit bowls and packaging scraps pile up in a short space of time, and Vespers have started.
Two guinea pigs, who apparently ran away from a government agency for medal improvements, pose for the photo and present a powerful trapezius and their inflated biceps. 'I'm a fighter,' says one of them and goes into boxing right-wing display. His buddy in a muscle shirt and camouflage jogging pants prefers to let others fight. He has caught a fat grasshopper and throws it into the web of a long-legged spider, which, with its black and yellow pattern, is either responsible for securing sharp-edged industrial facilities or is simply dangerous. In any case, the musclemen don't dare to get closer either, except to plop down another grasshopper.
At most, a minority in China still has something to do with animal welfare, and so it is only briefly surprising that in China Constantly jerking sacks are stuck in the back of a pickup truck with live rabbits trying desperately to get some oxygen in the humid heat and bad air. 'I think I'm a vegetarian in China,' announces photographer Thomas.
Traffic jam, starting point, safety car
The people locked up in three lanes are only released after just under an hour and a half. Immediately everything jumps into the cars. We have the second-best starting position in the Audi race. We disconnected the leading number 19 before the tunnel, while the photographer's Q5 slips past on the hard shoulder, but it drives out of competition.
So we turn into the pit lane for the only refueling stop 15 kilometers further after the safety car phase. After a five-minute standstill, it continues, the next one will only be able to pursue it three minutes later. A yawning empty motorway lies ahead of us. Before the super jam, the Australian-American pairing and the Slovakia team happily slipped through. The Slovaks could stop in the middle of the highway, go for a walk and take photos.Both cars have long since crossed the finish line.
We still have the last place on the podium, and as it turns out later, nobody has a chance to compete with us. This is not only due to the fact that, in a flash of enlightenment, we circumnavigated the blocked main flight path to Fuzhou with a skilful sailing maneuver in which we quickly jibe to starboard against the recommendation of the navigation system, in order to make a long swing to the west Then, in the direction of the hotel, at increased speed on the starboard bow and south course, a bombshell sprint to the target buoy was made. Rather, we have our backs free because shortly after our refueling stop, two tunnels further, the motorway was closed again. Perhaps the state guest at the rest stop forgot his Blackberry while buying cooked chicken feet at the rest stop and had to turn back.
While Petersen and Stier are already toasting each other, the majority still have 120 kilometers to go. Dinner is postponed one hour to eight thirty. After all, everyone is there around nine. It could have been worse, as evidenced by the rumor that circulated in early October when Vladimir Putin visited Beijing. The police closed the streets extensively, locking tens of thousands of residents in or out. Allegedly, the state authorities, seized by the high-ranking visitor from Moscow, then forgot to remove the barriers. The latest rumor is that the Vietnamese Foreign Minister is staying in the same hotel as us. So the story has to end here, because we have to go now, we have another chicken to pick with the Lord.