THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY HONG KONG
"The Magic Roads of China"
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
2/F Olympic House, So Kong Po, Causeway Bay
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
We are delighted to welcome wellknown Hong Kong resident Peter Schindler to lecture on "The Magic Roads of China", the trials and joys of a neverbefore undertaken road journey through China. On 12 May 2007, after two years of preparation, Peter Schindler took off on a 104day road trip through China, not in a Land Rover or a Porsche Cayenne, but in a yellow 1950s Lotus. This motorcar was made for British race tracks and when it came to a "driving holiday" in China, it was as illsuited to the task as a Hummer is to parking in London. In this amusing but revealing lecture, richly illustrated with slides, Mr Schindler tells the story of his extraordinary 22,000km journey through China in his little yellow racing car.
Mr Schindler's journey began in Shanghai. It first followed the course of the Yangtze to its source in Qinghai. From there he nursed his car via Lhasa to the source of the Yellow River and then back to the East China Sea along the meandering flow of this other mighty river of China. The journey took him from the artificial glitz of the East Coast to the natural splendour of the Tibetan Highlands, and from the terraced rice fields of Longsheng to the plains of Inner Mongolia. At the end of the journey, "Miss Daisy", as the Lotus became known, was auctioned off at a gala charity event hosted by Yao Ming. The proceeds went to the China Youth Development Foundation.
Driving a car designed in the 1950s and with a road clearance of about an inch and a half predictably resulted in a number of precarious and hilarious situations and encounters with bemused locals: crossing the 5,300m high Tanggula Pass between Tibet and Qinghai almost proved too much for the altitude sick Miss Daisy, while glacial rapids which could only be crossed with the help of hapless bystanders pushed even Chinese hospitality to and beyond its limits.
Mr Schindler is from Switzerland and was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and also holds an MBA from INSEAD. A former racing driver, he competed in Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula SuperV and Renault Elf in Europe, before moving to Asia where he became a Partner in Accenture's China practice. Having driven, over the years, over a million kilometres on roads in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, he left consulting for the fun of the roads and nowadays offers driving holidays in China showing the world just how beautiful and fun touring the minor roads of China can be.
Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for guests and others.