Via Chinadaily.com, the biggest online english/chinese newspaper, a press conference is arranged today at ten in the morning. There we are able to tell our story and promote the work of SOS. In total three big newspapers will attend the pressconference and this will generate lots of publicity for SOS-Childrens Villages in China. Therefor the director of SOS-Childrens Villages will attend as well. We called jason yesterday eve as we have to drive to pressconference. But Jason appears to be ill. We hope the journey has not been to rough on him but with a 39 degree fever it¡¯s better to stay in bed. This means we have to drive ourselves. We get directions from the receptionist at the hostel and leave early in the morning. Traffic can be bad in beijing we have heard.
So here we are driving ourselves through Beijing and are weary for people to stop us. What to do if somebody stops us and starts asking questions. We don¡¯t speak Chinese. We follow the directions but when we arrive at the place where china daily building should be according to the map, we only see residential buildings. Shit…. and it¡¯s allready ten o¡¯ clock! Stress Alert… Beep… Beep…. Beep!!!! We quickly continue driving but cannot see anything resembling China Daily. Bummer. We decide to ask around. We only have some Chinese notes but these appear to be useless. Then a couple in a car stops in front of us and ask in broken english where we want to go. They seem to know and ask us to follow them! How nice!!!
We follow the couple and drive and drive. We even take one of the ring roads and we doubt we are going in the right direction as it is bringing us miles and miles from the place we thought we needed to be. Again Stress Alert Beep… Beep…. Beep!! We ask the couple to stop and call our contact person at China Daily. Luckily it appears we are driving in the right direction (the notes from the hostel appear to be wrong) and even more lucky.. the reporters are still there. Half an hour late we finally arrive!
Giving a press conference is actually quite cool. We answer loads of questions about our journey and tell the reporters details about how we managed to get this far and about the preparations. We also tell them about our wonderfull experiences at the SOS villages and projects and our hope that more and more people start supporting SOS. For more then an hour we chat and have a great time. After photo session in front of Hippie and a nice lunch with the people from China Daily and the Director of SOS China we leave. Next Monday we will visit the village in Tianjin and give another press conference, even for television. Exciting!
As we are driving ourselves and we got the hang of it, we head for the summer palace. Built next to a lake, this is one of the most beautiful sites of Beijing and should absolutely not be missed. Driving up there is cool even though traffic is horribly slow. We park the car and pay the 20 yuan entrance fee for the outerpart. The innerpart is already about to close. This is a great place to end a nice day like this has been. We walk alongside the huge lake with sun setting in background and the majestic summerpalace in the background. This is where the emperors resided in summer and met royal or important guests. We spent about 1 ½ hours outside the summerpalace. We walk alongside the beautiful painted corridor, see the marble boat and have a quick look at the Emperors favourite shopping street.
We drive back to the guesthouse through Beijings nightmarish rushhour. At Tianeman Square we can¡¯t resist making another loop around the square. Christmas light have been placed everyhere making the place even more beautiful. Driving here feels fabulous!!