Journey: With the BMW X3 to Shanghai

BMW X3 in Shanghai
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E Do you still remember Edmund Stoiber's eulogy for the Transrapid? About 'you are getting on the main train station' and so on? Well, in Shanghai you can find out what has escaped Munich and other metropolises. With a top speed of over 400 km /h, Maglev commutes between Pudong International Airport and the center of the city of 18 million people. The speed is documented in large digital letters in the interior. Little is felt, the wagons float so gently over the ground. Hafencity in southeast China not only handles the highest tonnage in the world, but is also the only city to have achieved a career as a German verb.

Finding a taxi is difficult in Shanghai

'Shanghaien' stands for hiring sailors against their will. At the train station we first have to hire one of the 45,000 taxi drivers - not that easy at all. In the evenings on the roadside, it is easier to get offers for red light massages than a VW Santana, on which the green free light shines. Once boarded, the limousine, toiling in various age groups and care conditions, delights us with its homely charisma. The older models in particular have a concentrated 80's aroma. The scent of the old days. Hard plastic, cleaver design, childhood memories for the late thirties and early forties. The taxi drivers steer through Shanghai on white protective covers, with a bottle of green tea in the cup holder and sometimes slightly disoriented.

Under 97 octane you shouldn't reach for the dispensing pistol

If you have major navigation problems, call a telephone joker, and it will run smoothly again. Two drivers share a car. Twelve hours a day, seven days a week, no vacation, no working hours - a dream for business liberals. And if things go well, the marathonists are allowed to keep a third of the income - but only after they have paid for the fuel. Fuel is cheaper than ours, but below the promised 97 octane you shouldn't reach for a pistol, otherwise the combustion chamber becomes a bell bag. We have to do this after switching to our BMW at the latest X3 think. Start to self-experiment, including the ChineseDriver's license. It doesn't help much, equanimity does more. In connection with the compact SUV warhorse, the tour then goes smoothly.

If you can stand it in traffic from China, you can make it anywhere

Thanks to the high seating position for a good overview, precise handling and a powerful six-cylinder for assertiveness . All of this is particularly useful in the battle for pole at the countdown lights. Whole packs of mid-range and chauffeur-driven limousines lurk there. The Chinese like it classic and comfortable, lodge - if they can afford it - in the rear. Long version is popular, it is not for nothing that German premium suppliers weld an extra portion of sheet metal between the front and rear of Audi A6 , BMW 5er and Mercedes E-class . Long or not, the guys behind the wheel have nervous gas feet and hearts as big as kart youngsters despite an average city speed of around eleven km /h. Don't waste a millimeter, even if the next traffic jam or potholes the size of a children's paddling pool are imminent. Road traffic in China resembles a more stringent endurance test. If you can take it here, you can make it anywhere.

Before homologation, cars have to pass 80,000 test kilometers

It fits into the picture that models from foreign manufacturers are only allowed to be homologated for the Chinese market 80,000 kilometers have to survive in the hands of officials, before they are allowed to the test probe for emission measurement. Gas is also given in high-rise construction. Shanghai is in tough competition with other megacities. In the nineties around two thirds of all special cranes available worldwide were pulled together. Whether it's the Oriental Pearl Tower (TV tower) or the World Financial Center - today everyone is stretching their fingers towards the 500 meter mark in the sky while the next foundations are already being built next door. The construction machines also rattle on the Expo site. The area on the Huangpu River below the Lupu Bridge must be ready by the opening in 2010. Until then, the construction progress can be observed from the accessible arch of the bridge from a height of 110 meters. During the world exhibition, which takes place from May to October, the arch remains open even overnight - a guarantee for a good feeling of dizziness around the clock, because the view from the gently swaying building down to itthe moving cars and the ships passing underneath require a certain degree of hardship.

If you want fresh air, you have to get out of Shanghai

Attention instead of toughness demands another Shanghai species that stalk each other silently and surprisingly: whole groups of Electric scooters and bicycles. Back eyes would be good. They don't have to cry, because Shanghai saves its residents the heavy, mucous membrane-irritating two-stroke perfume that tries to stick together each alveoli individually. If you really want fresh air, you still have to get out of the city - or what is called out here. Because if you had subjectively crossed several national borders in Germany, Shanghai is still here. Instead of 'Are we there yet?' Chinese children probably ask 'Are we still there?' Suzhou, the city of gardens and canals, takes the shortest route. Transfigured by romantics as the Venice of the East, it offers brownish-dirty water veins as well as around 70 lovingly designed, classic gardens. Nine of them even made it up to UNESCO World Heritage List. If you are willing to invest a little more time and toll (three euros for 50 kilometers), you can stroll in Hangzhou after a two-hour drive.

All hell has broken loose on West Lake

The excursion area at West Lake feels like Lake Starnberg - flooded by 4.1 million leisure-drunk Chinese. Tour groups with orange-colored first-grader caps, couples in love and - one stage further - wedding couples who put themselves in the spotlight on the shore of the lake in King Ludwig style. A bit away from the hustle and bustle, it's more relaxed. The green spaces of the adjacent national park offer a relaxing contrast to the concrete and high-rise mania of the booming region. And when straw-sheltered farmers tend their tea plants in the soft evening light, at the end of the excursion there is even a pleasant, clich├ęd feeling of China.

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