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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Direct Links: Cyclist Cruises from China to Taiwan

With the recent tourism links between Taiwan and China, several cyclists have taken advantage of the direct cruise ship links between Taichung and China's port city of Xiamen.

World Biking, a site dedicated to riders hoping to ride through every country on the planet, has written a review of the experience.
The place was a madhouse of tour groups in funny hats queuing up to board the boat. Our bicycles were our ticket to first class service and we were whisked to the font of the line to board the ship first. The crew bustled around stowing our bikes and bags, then lead us up to a comfy cabin complete with dazzling lilly- white bed sheets and a fluffy pillow. After setting sail, I wandered around the ship and discovered not only karaoke and a dining room, but a sauna and Japanese-style bath house.
The writer does a fair job describing what it means to tour Taiwan. I am also grateful for WT recognizing Taiwan as a country rather than trying to find some cute way of degrading Taiwan and its relationship with China.

ADDED: *Cringe!*

Here is how this trip is being spun by China Cenral Television for the Chinese audience:

The first high-speed roll-on roll-off vessel has returned from Taichung to Pingtan of Fujian Province at 16:10 on December 1 (local time) along the second sea routes opened between the Chinese mainland and its island province of Taiwan.

The vessel carried 181 Taiwan compatriots in its return trip. The arrival time was an hour behind due to a strong gale-force wind on the way.

The vessel "Haixia" (Strait) made its maiden voyage along the new route on November 30, carrying more than 500 tourists on the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. Some of the passengers have also brought their bicycles along for a bicycle trip on the mainland.

"It's great. The ship is so fast and the trip is so economical. It would greatly facilitate tourism and trade between the mainland and the island,"said Yi Jiansheng (pinyin), passenger from Taichung.

"It's a pioneering undertaking, an undertaking pioneered by the Taiwan Bicycle Friendship Association by taking advantage of this platform provided by the new sea route. We hope that the people on both sides of the Straits would have more of such opportunities of exchanging bicycle tours," said Xie Jianguo (pinyin), a passenger from Taichung.

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