Water refreshes global attempt by motorcyclist
By JOANNA DAVIES
THE round-the-world motorcyclist, Mr Philippe Rahmani, whose financial plight was reported in the last issue of Motoring Post , is finally on his way again.
Perrier, the famous mineral water purveyors, has come to his rescue with a contribution of US$5,000 to end the adventurer's two-month delay in Hongkong.
Mr Vincent Wan, managing director of Perrier Asia Pacific, decided the firm should become involved in the venture because Mr Rahmani had the ''spirit of dedication and endeavour'' that he liked to see in his own company.
He said that Perrier intended to pursue the mainland Chinese market for bottled water in the near future and sending the Frenchman into China was ''a very strong signal that the French are coming''.
The Chinese leg of Mr Rahmani's journey will use up much of the Perrier contribution.
The Chinese authorities are demanding $390 a day to cover the cost of the compulsory guide and police escort and lodgings - a sum that Mr Rahmani feels is unreasonably high.
He said: ''I'm surprised that China is so difficult when it is hoping to host the Olympic Games, which are about friendliness and sports.
''I'm not a businessman, I am a sportsman and they put too heavy a burden on my shoulders.
''I know that they can issue a temporary permit, free of charge, if they wish - they did that for a motorcyclist last year.
''This attitude of the Chinese makes me sad.'' Because of the high daily costs, Mr Rahmani will race across to Beijing as quickly as the police escort will allow.
He hopes to cover the distance in nine days to keep expenses as low as possible.
Preparations for the Russian crossing will probably keep Mr Rahmani in Beijing for a month and he will be looking for further sponsorship for his Enfants de la terre (Children of the World) charity awareness trip at each port of call.