Taiwanese are favourite passengers
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.