Shipping the car back home

At 7:30 the alarm clock goes. Today is the day we are going to ship our car back to the Netherlands. We have breakfast with the village director and the director of SOS China. Both will come to the harbor with us to see if they can speed up any proces. They will also guide us there as they say it’s impossible to find it on your own and entering of the harbor is forbidden to strangers. Jason is already running around as apparently some paperwork is missing. But he manages to get it faxed to the harbor just before we leave.

It’s foggy outside and slowly we drive to the harbor. It’s our last ride in China and we both absorb as much as we can. On the way we are greeted by a Tianjin communist government official who works for the public affairs department. Apparently he had heard of our arrival and offered his services. It’s getting quite a big delegation now Elles, Michel mutters. But the man arranges a smooth entrance to the harbor for all of us. We easily find Hanjin Shipping and are welcomes by the man who is in charge of shipping the car; Mister Qi. We are stunned by the sight of the harbor activities. Huge cranes are lifting the containers onto cargo ships and huge special forklift trucks drive around with containers.

We are also welcomed by Mister Wang, the director of Hanjin Shipping in China. Mister Wang and Mister Qi are delighted to ship our beloved hippie back for us after driving just over 30.000 kilometers. Apparently Hippie isn’t looking forward to leaving the two of us as he doesn’t want to start as we want to drive to the container. How bizar, as if he knows…..

With a little push in the right directions we get hippie started and on the way to the container. A beautiful watertight container is waiting for us. We film and take loads of pictures of the last moment of our journey. We drive Hippie into the container and lock him carefully.

Hanjin Shipping will take care of all customs procedures for us as well as lashing (securing) hippie in the container. Only 31 days it takes to ship the car back to holland. That’s amazingly quick!!

By locking the container we know this is it. The end of the journey, the end of the expedition. Saying goodbye to hippie feels weird and strange. Good thing is that we know hippie is in good hands.

It also means that this is our last diary entry. We have enjoyed writing about our adventures and will now focuss on writing a book about our experiences before and during this expedition. It’s been an amazing journey which took us through 10 countries. We visited 10 SOS-villages and projects and are very much impressed by what we have seen. We hope you’ve enjoyed our stories as much as we have writing them!

Michel van Velde & Elles Albering

Beijing, China