Tai­wanese are favourite pas­sen­gers

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By MAR­JORIE COOK

Ash­bur­ton-based ‘‘coach cap­tain’’ Craig McKe­ich has been go­ing the ex­tra mile for Tai­wanese tour guide Richard Chen for two decades.

‘‘I met him more than 20 years ago and he hasn’t changed in all those years I have known him. The en­thu­si­asm is still in him.

‘‘In those old days, we used to go for meals in China Town, Christchurch, then we would go to Haast and ring up Neil Ross at Haast River Sa­faris to see if he could take us out and then we would come to Wanaka and have din­ner at the Ori­ent Ex­press. The next day we would go to Queen­stown.’’

McKe­ich en­joys his two-day stop-over in Wanaka as much as the clients trav­el­ling in the com­fort of his air-con­di­tioned Chi­ne­se­man­u­fac­tured Kin­g­long bus, which is ac­cred­ited to meet China and Tai­wan’s ‘‘ap­proved des­ti­na­tion’’ laws.

It is a very dif­fer­ent bus to the Ja­panese-im­port Mit­subishi he used to drive in the 1990s.

‘‘The Kin­g­long has a Bri­tish mo­tor, US parts, a Ger­man trans­mis­sion and a Korean diff. But it is a good qual­ity lit­tle coach and I have had it five years now,’’ he said.

McKe­ich says the Tai­wanese have al­ways been his favourite pas­sen­gers and he has lost count of the times he has been pho­tographed.

‘‘Their hugs and smiles are usu­ally a pretty good in­di­ca­tor for how much they are en­joy­ing them­selves,’’ he said.

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