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Audi Q3 Trans China Tour 2011, Day 9: The fragrant port

Markus Stier
Audi Q3 Trans China Tour 2011, day 9
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' Hmmm, what smells so good here? ' asked the first Europeans who once came to the mouth of the Pearl River. The residents of the canton wanted to be nice and quickly changed the original name of their island to Heung Gong - 'the fragrant harbor'. Well, the colonialist of the world is still characterized by the fact that he gives strange peoples fantastic advice on how the world should go, only listening has always been a problem, and so the British perverted the beautiful name of Hong Kong.

V om the original smell of spices and incense, little remains in the British crown colony, which was returned to China in 1997. A haze hangs over the city, barely allowing a view of the opposite bank of the main island Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon peninsula. 'That's the smog. It comes from China,' says one of the tour guides of the Audi convoy like a shot.

Road tunnels torpedo the red light milieu

But the seven million people who squeeze into 1,100 square kilometers also produce a lot of noise and dirt. But at least Hong Kong prides itself on having one of the best public transportation systems in the world. The locals use the 'Octopus Card', a rechargeable chip card for the underground, bus or tram. Many do this not because local public transport is faster, but because they cannot yet afford a car.

The male portion of the population in particular dreams of Porsche, Bentley or at least Lotus, but on the other hand still depends like the good old days, when Suzie Wong's world was still in order and the red lights were still shining in the Wang Chai neighborhood. It was quite customary to kill the time after work until you could confidently call the waiting wife and say that you had missed the last ferry. The business of entertaining amusement gave way when the first road tunnel established a permanent connection to the suburbs of Kowloon or the New Territories, which is why it was nicknamed 'No Excuse Tunnels' Shafts the old Victoria harbor, but of course the tourist travels on one of the traditional Star Ferries. The star ferry is so cleverly designed that the backrests of the bench seats swivelto let. So the traveler always has the view in the more attractive direction - except today, of course, because the view is pretty poor on both banks.

It used to take a good quarter of an hour to cross over by ferry, now it's only around five Minutes, because people are constantly trying to gain more space in the area with landfills. Only a quarter of Hong Kong is suitable for building, the rest is geologically too unstable or too steep. And so in the center of the main island there is even a 50-kilometer trekking path through largely untouched nature.

A touch of the Cote d'Azur

Even ground is so precious that some official bodies take over the territory out of sheer desperation cheats up to 100 square kilometers by counting the coastline at low tide. Like the Monegasque, Hong Kong residents tend to build upwards - prefabricated buildings sometimes upright. The natives are already blaspheming that in view of the continuing building frenzy, Victoria Harbor will soon have to be renamed Victoria Trench.

To prove to us that there are not only skyscrapers in Hong Kong, the bus goes to the southern end of the Island. The first larger area without buildings is the racecourse. Gambling is prohibited in Hong Kong. Real gamblers have to leave the urban sea area on one of the casino ships or cross over to Macau, just 40 kilometers away. Betting on horses has always been allowed, however, and because the Chinese are optimistic about their difficult fate despite all the burden, he called the valley of the racecourse 'Happy Valley'.

For those whose hearts have lost If the house and yard in the happy valley stumble, there is a hospital with capable cardiologists across the street. For those for whom there is no longer any hope, the move to the 'Sad Valley' remains opposite. In the 'sad valley' lies the city's oldest cemetery.

But if you make it to the south side of the island alive, you suddenly feel a bit moved to the Cote d'Azur. Wooded hills, rocky coasts with built-in sandy beaches and, above all, the view of the southern starry sky, which seems much more favorable to fate than the northern celestial bodies, attracted the increasingly wealthy Hong Kong residents as well as the colonialists.

In addition to exclusive country Clubs, private beaches and great views indulge in idleness while at the same time business development in the nine-hole golf club (there is no space for 18 holes in Hong Kong). To become a member, you not only need a lot of money and powerful advocates, but also plenty of patience. It took 20 years from the bottom of the waiting list to tailoring the club jacket. Another hobby is recommended for the less rich: eating. Somebody calculated that Hong Kong has so many restaurants that there arewith stopping three times a day it would take over 22 years to have them all eaten. This requires even more stamina than waiting for three-wood and five-iron, but it has the great advantage that you can start playing with chopsticks straight away.

Rich men and motorcycle shoe deal

Down on the winding coastal road in the south of the island is Jackie Chan's pseudo-Tudor-style mansion, right on top 'Ridge of the Nine Dragons' Li Ka-Shing has built a property for himself. Every child in Hong Kong knows the slender man with thick horn-rimmed glasses. He made his first fortune exporting plastic flowers. Today Forbes magazine believes that only 13 richer men walk on the planet than the resourceful Chinese, whose company accounts for a third of the Hong Kong stock market value. Li Ka-Shing is said to have a weight of 26 billion, reason enough that thousands of tourists every day at the foot of Hong Kong Peak have themselves photographed next to his life-size wax figure, so that at least a scrap of his wealth rubs off on them.

The new passenger in the Audi Q3 with starting number three could also use a little more cash. After Jörg Petersen from Auto-Illustrierte had to travel home with a heavy heart, in order to devote himself to dull things like data boxes and purchase advice in the future, Carlos Andres Rivero Cereija from Brazil joined the team. Carlos works for the South American magazine 'Carro' (the car) and would like to buy a motorcycle. 'Only over my corpse', was the freely translated reaction of his better half, 'or over a pair of new shoes'. Monthly, of course.

To appease loved ones, Carlos also walks off to Stanley Market to buy a useful souvenir in the crowd of narrow stalls. The hit of the year are t-shirts that show US President Obama in Mao uniform, although it remains to be seen whether China would like a similar leader or whether it is intended to pester American tourists.

In addition to watches, sunglasses and handbags (some of which are even real), useful accessories such as key rings with rubber chicken feet or original Chinese straw hats can of course also be purchased at the Hong Kong markets. 'No photo' is written at the hat shop. That is understandable, because Hong Kong sees itself as the fashion metropolis of the world and this straw hat collection is presumably still a secret and will not be on the market in Paris until the summer of 2012.

The tour group is climbing, laden with rustling plastic bags full of precious treasures in a dozen vans and crosses the Chinese border again. The rest day in Hong Kong felt good, but it's still nice to caress the beloved layer of dust from car three, which is fresh when you get inTo mess up cleaned pants (of course the light beige) and to carry out the daily loading ritual (travel bag in the trunk, thermos in the back seat, cola bottle bags in the door shelf).

The upcoming trip is very manageable, only round It is 130 kilometers to Guangzhou. The newcomers shouldn't be overwhelmed at first. You've read all sorts of bad things about Chinese road traffic (allegedly even in the auto-motor-und-sport blog).

Easy Tour with theft of torque

But either things are basically more civilized here in Canton, or South China is making special efforts to smoothly integrate newcomers into traffic. Without traffic jams, the rush hour traffic heads south. Unfortunately, partner Carlos does not have the pleasure of directing his skills through Guangdong himself. He stood in for a failed colleague at short notice. There wasn't enough time to rush through all the Chinese offices, at the end of which the issue of a temporary Chinese driver's license beckons. Engineer Alexander Riedel - responsible for the topic of CO2 reduction - got on board. He's an extremely sociable and nice guy, but suddenly costs us 20 percent torque because he warmly recommends the 'Efficiency Mode' in 'Drive Select'. For all those who do not speak 'advertising' here the translation into technical jargon: To reduce emissions, the ECU of the Q3 offers a special map to optimize fuel consumption. Depending on the driving style, this saves ten percent fuel.

The little less steam is not a problem, as today the three lanes to Guangzhou are as smooth as from Jing to Jang. We were the first car that the three-time Le Mans winner Rinaldo Capello sent on the journey with the flag in Shenzen. Nobody has overtaken us, and for the first time since we set out in Beijing, we have won the day. But hardly arrived in the hotel entrance in Guangzhou, car number 16 is already thick and wide in front of the entrance, the occupants already have the first dust beer in their throats. You accidentally deviated from the recommended navigation route and promptly found a shorter route. 'What has been holding you back for so long?' we have to listen to ourselves as the runner-up in a snooty tone. Well wait friends, tomorrow is also another day.

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