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From fairyland to the bear's lair03.07.2008

Tags: South Korea       Comments: 1

iking on a trash-dump, mountain-biking among snow-capped peaks: from South Korea to Canada is quite a change. Louis Palmer and his Solar Taxi team have said goodbye to Asia and experience pure nature for the first time on their world tour.
My ear is still whistling and popping and after two weeks I still feel pressure in it, so I decide to climb Bukhasan. I want to test the pressure balance in my ear on Seoul's highest mountain to prepare for my flight to Canada. The climb doesn't hurt, which gives me hope.
The next mountain I climb is in Seoul's most beautiful park. Bike paths, a football field, avenues of trees, gardens - it's hard to believe I'm on the world's biggest trash-dump. Trash from 23 million people lies under here. A truck arrives here every 23 seconds, a total of 1,600 truckloads a day. The trash is buried, and even perfumed, at night. It's called "Dream Park" - a mini-landscape like something out of a fairytale.
Nearby are some apartment buildings and a power plant. Instead of letting methane gas get into the atmosphere, where it's more than 20 times more damaging to the climate than CO², the idea is to generate electricity from it. Energy for 600,000 people will be generated for the next 20 years out of the trash-dump. What a great idea!
A new image of Asia
This is my last impression of Asia. The Far East has made a lasting impression on us, more than any other part of the world. We have a completely new image of Asia. Environmental protection and the climate crisis are taken seriously here; concern about the future is driving countries to make new investments that are barely imaginable in Europe. We had honestly not imagined that Asia would be as it was.
The next day comes the test - landing in Canada. The last thing my Korean ear specialist said was, "If your eardrum does rupture during the flight there's a good side. You won't feel the pressure in your ear any more." Horrible idea!
But after a month of fears and worries it's all okay and a little later my ear is forgotten as I shake hands with John Stonier and Don Chambler from the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, who pick me up at the airport. The first vehicle I get into in the New World is a big Nissan pick-up.
Gas-guzzlers in the rear-view mirror
Don's Nissan is completely electric-powered and can accelerate until the gas-guzzlers disappear in the rear-view mirror. "Every day we have a new club member ", he says. "People are electrified by the idea of driving without gas. The price of gas here is almost one euro a liter."
At his house I read out from SPIEGEL ONLINE that, "The gas price has reached 143 dollars a barrel." Don claps his hands. "Great! That's great news! It's never been any good just talking about climate change. Now things are really moving. The price will make sure we say goodbye to gas." The phone rings and Don answers. It's the next prospective club member.
Next day I finally pick up the Solar Taxi. The new control unit has arrived from Rockwell and Frank installs it right away. It all works like clockwork.
For the next two days I don't even switch on my computer and go on a mountain bike tour through the Garibaldi Provincial Park. For the first time on our trip we see pure nature, a small black bear, rushing streams and snowy mountain peaks. The sun shines. It couldn't be better. Tomorrow is Canada Day, and the Solar Taxi is leading the parade through North Vancouver.



by: Marie-Anne

18.07.2008 01:07

Nice solar car .Heard you on the Radio this morning that`s how I knew about you.looked on internet ,pretty cool that would be ideal to hae for saving gas .Have a great trip .I`m from Timmins Ontario.Canada.So lond .Safe journey

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