17 March 2001

Beijing, National People's Congress

March 2001 has been a strange month
This last month has been a very strange one. From working on the car, camping out in Hong Kong awaiting our Chinese permits, to flying to Beijing, we have been through high and low thinking we might never be allowed to drive through China. The necessary permits have been delayed several times and we have been stuck in Hong Kong with nothing else to do than work on the car and try out our equipment in Hong Kong's country parks.


Work on the car
The delays in obtaining our permits have not been all that bad. It has allowed us to prepare the car in detail for our journey. We've organised the inside of the car, fitted a second battery and a 12v/220v converter, changed the radio system, repaired the leak in the A/C, made driving the car safer with front beams and extra brake lights, protected our belongings with locks and a safe etc. etc. etc. All details will be given in the "Vehicle preparation" section. In doing all this, we've received both financial support and tremendous help from Victor Ma at 4WD Co. in Hung Hom who has taken us under his wing. Many parts had to be custom made and his team and I spent days working together at his shop.


The first thing we did is put on the stickers of all our generous sponsors as well as the splendid map made for us by Dynagraph S.A. in Brussels.  


We had wanted the car to be simple and, as much as possible, not be too noticeable in traffic. We are not sure we have succeeded.

Before                                                                    After...

Work at 4WD Co.                                                 Oasis fitting the radio

Making isolation curtains                                    Preparing to leave a very cozy apartment


Chinese permits : delay, delay ...
We had been told from the start that our initial departure date of February 18th would be difficult to achieve. Our travel agent needed 1 or 2 extra weeks to obtain the permits. So we settled on February 28th. At the end of February, there was no change and we were told to wait until the first or the second week of March. Last week, we were told they did not know when our permits would arrive... This did not sound very good. According to some, it meant we were not going to receive these permits at all. Having prepared this trip for many months, having shipped our car to HK and having patiently accepted successive delays, this was just not good enough. We started to make plans to ship Troopie to Madras, Singapore or even Vladivostock but this made us very sad. We had wanted to drive from one home to another. There remained only one more thing to do : to fly to Beijing to try to see the different administrations and explain our wish to drive through China (which is not normally allowed. Here's the story : Our trip to Beijing.


For the last 2 weeks, we have been living in our car and camping in different area's of Hong Kong ! This is quite a change from the cozy apartment of Yvonne and Aurelien but we are happy to try out all the arrangements we have made to Troopie. The only thing missing now is a broadband connection to the internet !


A special kettle enables us to boil water without gas or fuel. Just burn whatever is available : paper, dry branches or a couple of leaves !


Party time ! 
We had the visit of Kathleen's parents who were hoping to waive us goodbye..


The youngest visitors of our roof top tent : Antoinette, Constance, Charles-Elie and Georgina !


Our trip to Beijing

All is well with us !

February 2001 Back to Trip page Our departure