D he rugged mountains and lush green hills The provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, in the south-eastern corner of the Middle Kingdom, are considered one of the most scenic corners by visitors to China, although the locals usually just want to get away. The residents are famous for their desire to emigrate because of the lack of professional prospects; abroad there are rows and rows of cooks and waitresses from this area. The rural exodus has a centuries-old tradition, and so the imperial court in Beijing issued a strict travel ban in the 18th century.
The orange Audi caravan left the highway after around 200 kilometers and is driving overland. A dusty concrete track winds its way into the mountains in serpentines through a trellis of thousands of banana trees. If there is oncoming traffic, drivers must be careful not to slide into the deep, walled water drainage channel. The area is subtropical and in the summer months the monsoons regularly throw off heavy, wet loads.
Finally no more motorways
So far, we were mainly used to driving in city traffic and jumping on the autobahn. Le Mans winner André Lotterer, who joined the group in Shanghai, first had to adjust, but like most of his fellow travelers, he came to the conclusion: It's fun. Lotterer usually lives in Japan and says: 'Both countries have the problem of not having enough space.' However, while the Japanese generally quietly and patiently do their daily stowage, the Chinese go about their business briskly and vigorously. Lotterer calls this driving style: 'Freestyle'.
But today there are finally really tight bends and not just traffic lights, finally the right incline, finally nature. Anyone who is supposed to describe Fujian usually uses the well-known formula: eight parts of mountains, one part of fields and one part of water.
The latter will soon enlarge dramatically in the valley into which we roll after the ridge. The settlements along the small river are partly already half deserted, which in this case cannot be explained by the desire of their residents to migrate. The world that is so idyllic for our eyes is a lost one, because there are two dams at the lower end of the valley. One of them will soon be increased drastically in order to enlarge the lake considerably, then today's travel route is good for a long timeShare only as a diving paradise.
Colon irrigation with a difference
Feel our 50-kilometer excursion into rural southern China most considered too short. An Audi Q3 is parked every few hundred meters while its occupants with starved cameras and greedy lenses flock out to take photos, regardless of whether geese are bathing in the village stream or the old lady with the silver flashing teeth who is with her son next to the road tiled basin and cleans chicken entrails. She shyly hides behind the pool at first, but soon surrenders grinning at the overwhelming power of the lenses and rummages in the bird's crook again. The term colonic irrigation takes on a whole new dimension.
Many Audi Q3s only arrive in the late afternoon at the restaurant in Xiamen, which is intended for the lunch break.
It has always been valued as a trading port, but in the 16th century the Europeans took over the city to export tea from here. In our latitudes, the small town (now comparatively puny) was not noticed until the middle of the 19th century, when the empire of the Qing dynasty lost out in the first opium war against British invaders.
The English opium trade
The English did not want to stop the drug trade in any way. They themselves imported opium on a large scale into China in exchange for good business, in the same way that Indians were made drunk in North America to talk them out of their territory. After a sea blockade, the emperor had to give in and forcibly open his empire, the colonial powers more and more took over command. The often martial appearance today, the demonstrative display of self-confidence by Chinese politicians abroad is not only due to the country's considerable economic power, it is also a late reaction of defiance to the time of the 'unequal treaties' when the once so powerful China was humiliated who had to endure others.
And so, in the long tradition of violent episodes in the history of Xiamen, one prefers to deal with Zhengg Chenggong, whom we want to mention below by his second name Koxinga for the sake of simplicity. Born in Japan, Koxinga was his father's pride, as he quickly proved to be talented at learning the family trade, which consisted of trade, smuggling, piracy and extortion.
Koxinga was something like Francis Drake's Ming dynasty, which he supported against the Qing invading from Manchuria with considerable troops and navies. His mother committed suicide when he conquered his home, Quanzhou, and in return he almost conquered Nanjing. The campaign failed because the enemy was in hisBirthday celebrations burst.
Insults over the loudspeaker
Koxinga initially withdrew to Xiamen, but the Qing left them The entire surrounding coastal region was depopulated and the only remaining option for the pirate who was carrying the army was to travel to exile. He founded his own kingdom on the nearby 'beautiful island' of Taiwan, where he died in 1662. Today he stands in Xiamen in a martial pose on the island of Gulang Yu, 16 meters high carved out of the granite.
All of this should be mentioned here with this level of detail, because the excursion across the East China Sea to the east justifies China's claim to Taiwan to this day. The growing nationalism of the Chinese calls for reintegration, the dividing line runs a few kilometers off the Chinese coast. Decades ago people threw regular insults at each other with leaflets and loudspeakers.
It was only with the appointment to the special economic zone in 1981 that both sides relaxed somewhat. Xiamen became a pioneer of capitalism with Chinese characteristics and experienced a rapid upswing, which today means that the class enemy from the breakaway island invades in large droves, because many Taiwanese appreciate Xiamen as a holiday destination and a shopping paradise.
Chicken feet for Le Mans winner André Lotterer
Some Audi travelers also use the early arrival for shopping, and so some people sit at dinner with a black party cap with a red star. In addition, like the day before, freshly purchased delicacies are rummaged from plastic bags hidden under the table and waitresses conspiratorially asked to serve boiled chicken feet and some indefinable items with a bit of garnish on porcelain plates as the next course at the next table. So recently the most important rule when it comes to eating has been: If something unknown comes to the table with a slightly disgusting appearance, first keep an eye out for cameras and craned necks in the area.
The last cry last evening was the primary genitals of a bull, which when dried as bone-hard and, because of its considerable length, bent on the plate, could also pass as a goat's leg. Even the doctor who traveled with Audi was unable to identify the withered bull penis. The bravest among those fooled is so far, of all people, racing professional Lotterer, who bravely bit a chicken's foot on Friday and then had to answer the question everywhere how it was. The answer was a bit short: 'Somehow bony.'