Meneghina Express’ numbers:

12379 Kilometers in 44 days

350 hours riding

297 batteries recharged

12 countries

4500Kg Co2 reduced vs. gas

Day -4 - China flag - June 6

Driving licence: problems start!

To get a driving license in China, is not easy at all. We arrived at the transportation's office of Shanghai early this morning and we were greeted by Jessica, the delegate of a local agency that assists the "foreigners" in obtaining all kinds of permits. She guided us in a huge bureaucratic structure of driver's licenses. Like any other Chinese, we presented all the necessary documents, and photocopies of the same, we waited for our turn to be photographed, and then we attended the eye and hearing exam, pressure, cardiovascular and functionality tests and anything else that could certify we are skilled or non-skilled drivers. Everything completed in less than forty minutes in a centrifuge of offices and buildings. At the end we were able to go away with a stamp on a sheet and we were able to arrive at the last step: go to second floor of the “Building One”, sitting in front of a woman cop, who informs us of a terrible paradox.

Apparently the law has just changed. The police officer says: "to obtain a temporary license you must present a document proving that you have rented a vehicle; to rent a vehicle, it is imperative to have a driver's license". What we have to do now?

Jessica takes her phone and starts to call whoever knows she can be able to help us, talking in a Chinese even less understandable than the one we heard on the street! Result: maybe we will not get the license, but we can still try, participating to a two hours lesson, which will take place tomorrow morning. The only thing sure is that for now we do not have driver's license.

In the meantime Nicola is struggling with the pick-ups. Mister Sun, again, is not working as he should: assembling pieces upside down or not mount them at all, despite it was requested explicitly. However, the two pick-ups are taking shape and also the generators, able to generate 6 kW each, are ready to be tested: they are working, although there are still some limitations related to the discharge and accommodation of the same into the van of cars. All the staff now is working hard: Giorgio is securing beam headlights, Enrico and his camera are always ready to film every kind of situation, Flavio is laying down under one of the cars, by removing or installing what is required or useful. As soon as he has free time takes notes useful to write what he was reading.

It is time for a sandwich and now the Team must necessarily separate: Nicola, Flavio and Enrico go to visit the Tony's Farm - accompanied by Nicoletta, an Italian woman, an expert on sustainability and green energy, who has been living in China for seven years - to have a first real picture of organic farming and the methods of cultivation, growth, production and distribution of plants here in China.

The visit is more than satisfactory: a farm's delegate shows us how this part of China has adapted to the most modern production techniques, devoid of use of chemical fertilizers, which comply with the standards and international laws governing the matter. Apparently, the Shanghai's green agriculture is currently dedicated to elite: the productions of Tony's Farm, in fact, are almost exclusively provided to the International Companies’ employees that have offices nearby as it were a benefit for their managers. In any case, this visit is just a taste of what we will see during our journey.

We went back from our afternoon trip and found Giorgio with two people we had already seen before: Valerio and Mirco were arrived!

Despite they were visibly tried for the long journey, they were working together with Mister Sun and Giorgio. Valerio greets us with a contagious enthusiasm: it will be nice to travel all together, and it absolutely really important be able to smile in front of the challenges we will face.

Mirco is quiet, observes carefully what is happening around him and he starts to capture everything draws his attention. Simply take a look at the previews of his shots; you can immediately understand that Mirco Lazzari is not only a photographer, but rather an artist who has chosen photography to express him.

Now the team is really complete: Nicola and Valerio founders and centaurs; Enrico, Flavio, Giorgio and Mirco together to realize with them this adventure, whose departure is getting closer. There is also a special guest: Carlo Mantori, thirty-four years who lives in Shanghai for a couple of years, he is Nicola's and Valerio's friend. He is helpful and extremely kind. He will take us to the border of Mongolia, offering all the support that a "mission" like ours needs.

Tomorrow there will be new discoveries to be made, driving licenses (perhaps) to be obtained, city tours and the streets of this amazing Shanghai full of charm and contradictions for all of us to be discovered.

Path traveled today