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June 6, 2016 | The successful completion of a first tour part

Now I am sitting in the cafe on packed suitcases. In a few hours I will be going to the airport for the flight home. It was with a heavy heart yesterday that I got out of the motorhome. Nic is taking it back to the rental company in Beijing. For my last night in Shanghai I am in a hotel. No noisy traffic to disturb me, no loud honking and no inquisitive Chinese peering through the window. I got a good night’s sleep. Last night I indulged myself on the Original Peking duck. It’s worth coming to China for the duck alone. In our three week stay we have managed to eat our way through a substantial amount of the Chinese duck stock.

We did however enjoy other great food. Yesterday the Japanese company Suntory invited us to dinner. On offer was the Japanese speciality of raw fish which was very fresh and delicious. The fish lay on the plate, its gills still moving, only the meat was cooked.

Previously we had been on the outskirts of Shanghai, visiting the Korean Far Eastern Industries, who brew beer in China which they fill into PET bottles. This of course was my special subject. At our discussions beer was already on the table, not good on an empty stomach. I should have had breakfast first.

The beer originally has an alcohol content of 7%, but shortly before bottling they add water to the delicious beer, thus reducing the alcohol content by half, to 3.5%. Thus, the brewery is only producing half as much as the maximum capacity would indicate. My question was, why do the Chinese prefer light beer which has a very watery taste? After almost three weeks pondering the question, now comes the persuasive explanation: the Chinese like to boast that he has quaffed numerous bottles in the course of an evening and next morning he is fit and ready to go! That, for the Chinese, is what constitutes a decent beer. Of course, it’s only 2% ABV. A beer of 5 or 7% ABV therefore is a “bad” beer. No kidding! So before I get on the flight, I will be in the bar drinking some bad beer!