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Sunny Times in a Sunburnt Country15.02.2008

Tags: Australia       Comments: 1

Picture of the day

The Solar Taxi is in Melbourne, where Louis Palmer meets with uncomplicated hospitality and committed environmentalists. At tzhe same time he has to plan his journbey across China.
I'm welcomed to Melbourne by Deborah who has offered me an empty flat to stay in. "My mother is moving in in two weeks. Make yourself at home. Come over if you need anything. I live opposite! I'm making dinner at about 7. Are you a vegetarian?"

Deborah is a very lively woman and a stimulating discussion with her and her husband goes on over a huge pot of risotto until long after midnight. She is also head of a group of environmentalists called "Locals Into Victoria's Environment" (LIVE), one of the country's 75 climate protection groups.
"I'm lucky to have a husband. He let me leave my job and dedicate myself completely to environmentalist activities." Her husband adds, "Environmentalists are a bit of a joke in my family. My parents don't believe in climate change. It's not that important to me either, but it's best if partners in a relationship don't do the same things, otherwise they won't have anything to talk about over dinner." I promise to take Deborah with me on a tour of Melbourne the next evening.

Racking my brains about travel
Next day I make myself at home in the flat and set up my computer for fast Internet access. My trip through Asia still has to be organised and it seems as if all the time in the world won't be enough for me to deal with the difficulties ahead. China especially has me racking my brains.
The Chinese authorities want to know three months before I arrive precisely when and where I will arrive, my exact route, exactly when and where I will leave the country, and who will be travelling with me. And that's not all. China is the only country in the world to charge a huge amount for a permit for two European private cars. How can I already exactly determine the day of my arrival?
I count the days. There's still the trip to Perth, then on through Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Laos. I finally come up with the 16th of April as a possible date for my arrival in China. That should leave me enough time to visit China's biggest renewable energy trade fair on the 12th of May in Shanghai. But the 16th of April is just two months away!

Mitsubishi Australia Shuts Down
I go to the Sustainable Energy Festival with Victoria's Energy Minister, Peter Batchelor, and his advisor Dan Ward. Federation Square, Melbourne's central square, is swathed in flags and covered in tents. Exhibitors from near and far are presenting their products - wind power generators and alternative medicines, organic samosas and Hyundais converted to run on electricity, inflatable whale sharks as big as a child's bedroom and courses to become a sustainability consultant - they're all here.
Gazing at the crowds, Mr Batchelor's advisor says, "There's been a big rethink in Australia. The car manufacturer Mitsubishi suddenly announced last week that it was closing its last factory in Australia. A thousand workers will soon be on the streets in Adelaide, so the state will have to provide a lot of money for job creation, and all because nobody believed that no one wanted to buy such big heavy cars anymore."
Looking at the Solar Taxi he adds, "The solar car is the solution. Maybe it's still too soon for this kind of energy-saving vehicle here, but it would be great if they would think about investing in producing an ecological and economical vehicle in Adelaide."
Suddenly Deborah appears, a bit agitated, hours before our agreed appointment. "Louis, I'm sorry but I can't go on the tour with you today! My husband wants to go to the mountains for a couple of days. All the best for your journey. It was wonderful to meet you and see the Solar Taxi! Could you leave the key in my mailbox when you go?"


by: Dirk

17.02.2008 06:02

Hallo Solartaxi Team,

endlich habt Ihr Sonne ohne Grenzen und könnt Euch vor allem auch mal ein wenig erholen. Geniesst die Zeit in Australien und kommt sicher in Asien an.

Dirk J. aktuell in Taiwan!
PS: Meinen speziellen Gruss an Thomas und Louis!

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