Beijing - city center
After several emails to various websites which stayed mostly unanswered or pointed us elsewhere we ended up in Beijing which seems to be the center of RV life in China right now.
When we approached the place in the late afternoon we immediately saw the motorhome out in the street - a European looking type on an Iveco base.
Chinese summers can get very very hot and muggy, even up north. But the aircondition needs a lot of power, mains connections are required.
Notice the many halogen spotlights and the smoke alarm.
Protected by a high gloss lacquer it looks bright, clean and cozy.
The bright white fluorescent tube on the left seems to be installed later on to give a better light.
Spacy Seating group
The seating area sits four persons easily, even Europeans which are sometimes a bit bigger than Chinese. To protect the upholstery there were clean covers.
The provided cushions and installed curtains made the motorhome really comfortable.
The bunk bed
Because we had booked for two people the bunk bed was not made up for sleeping. It is spacy for the person sleeping neer the edge, the person in the back has some restrictions in height and length due to the shape of the nose.
Integrated mosquito gaze provide a breeze while keeping the bugs out. The shades provide protection from heat or light coming in.
When open, the windows provide a nice overview to both sides of the caravan.
Functional and clean.
The ash tray on the dashboard gives away that this is a smoking vehicle, however we could not notice any smell when we entered. The stack of business cards provided is for giving out to interested people which as it turns out will be plentiful.
Have a chat first
The deposit is normally very high and needs to be paid in cash. We explained that we could not get the required cash in the short time while we were in the country. And as so many times in China, we could negotiate that we paid the deposit in Euros which we had brought over.
Please note that at this point Liu Bing did not know who we are. He thought we were just a regular couple renting a motorhome. We only told Centech after the RV was returned and the deal was completed that this was a test and we planned to write about it.
An external shower is a great thing to have. It is located on the driver's side, under the bedroom window. I personally would prefer it to be located closer to the entry door.
The big surprise
A big surprise was hidden under the largest door: a 6500 Watt Honda generator. And suddenly I understood the concept.
So far I had not seen any gas powered appliances, and now I realized there were no. All appliances like microwave, stove and air conditioner (also used for heating) were running on electricity.
No LPG Installation
Later I would be told that Chinese people would mistrust gas installations. So electricity is the only power source.
But how do you operate the generator?
The easy answer
Although the generator has a remote control, it can not be operated inside the compartment, it needs to be pulled out.
To facilitate this, two rails are provided on which the generator can be slid out placed besides the RV.
This concept with all its disadvantages did not appeal to me very much as it seems very impractical.
All the contracts and check lists are in Chinese, I would have been lost without Lily.
Usually weary and suspicious I stayed calm here because my experience with Chinese rentals is great, never a problem.
Maybe they were taken off because they would be stolen otherwise. Or can China use a set of plates for more than one vehicle?
We don't know but next time we will ask.
Amid Beijing traffic
Passing San Litun Area, in the front one of my favorite handouts, Hooters, with its fabulous wings.
The gearbox is a bit difficult but otherwise the RV drives great, and other drivers are defensive as ever.
first group meeting
All group members had arrived during the day and we met right in the front of the hotel entry. Within a couple of minutes everybody forgot where we were. This is RV life!
Nobody of the hotel staff minded either.....imagine this in Europe.
Full concentration is required, I did not want to risk losing the deposit.
The GPS which speaks English and displays locations in Pinyin is extremely helpful for navigation although lately the iPad or iPhone also came in handy.
Drawing big interest
Immediately after arriving at the fair parking site, and after opening the rear door, a crown of people asked to have a look around.
I was immediately reminded of the story that Konstantin Abert told at the last Caravan Salon and could not help but smile....it was so true.
While I had never seen an RV in Beijing before, on the way back to the hotel there was another one, also a Centech, right in front of us. Unfortunately it turned before we could see it closer.
While I am sure it is difficult to find adequate parking for a RV in Beijing, that night we had no problem finding a spot.
To celebrate the day we had some German food in famous Schindler's Tankstelle, a German restaurant with quite authentic food.
Parking on Fairgrounds
The next day we could park right on the fairgrounds with a short way to walk.
We hope this report was useful for you. should you need more information, should you have questions or should you need assistance please do not hesitate to contact anyone of us, we will try to help.