Half a year ago, our lives changed when this sanlunche (three-wheeler) entered the family. We were ecstatic to finally have a vehicle that our whole family could fit into. Suddenly, it meant we could go on short trips and errands without walking half a mile to the nearest bus stop (and then usually a lot of walking after riding the bus, too), or trying (usually in vain) to get a taxi.
(Fear not, our son doesn’t actually get to drive it.)
It’s a thousand years old, the seats are slowly disintegrating, and the armrests are 90% electrical tape, but we do not care. This thing has been such a blessing! Not only has it been a huge help in transporting our family, it’s come in handy to transport other things, too, such as:
- our wonderful dog, who isn’t allowed on buses or taxis,
- new pets from the Bird & Flower Market, who could have gone on buses or taxis, but the sanlunche is way cooler,
- packages from the international pick-up post office, same reason as above,
- and secondhand furniture because it just looks fierce to have a huge dresser hanging across the back of this three-wheeled beast.
Side note: once, we somewhat accidentally took it off-roading through a construction site.
But, hey, who hasn’t done something like that?
All in all, we were very happy with our three-wheeler. Like, REALLY happy. Still, we decided it was time for an upgrade. Although it had a long list of pros, there was one giant con: the elements. We were very unprotected from the weather as we rode around in our bluemobile.
The high-altitude sun of Kunming burned us a few times, despite using umbrellas.
We got thoroughly soaked a few times, despite using ponchos and umbrellas. (No photo. My phone is not waterproof.)
And on two occasions, we were driving around in snow. SNOW, folks. Actually those two times were pretty fun.
Aw. look how cute we are, bundled up against the cold in our little electric sleigh.
Anyway, we decided it was time to get a weatherproof top for our che. (That is short for sanlunche. Now you know how to speak like a real laowai.)
Doesn’t it look so much better now???
Just kidding. That’s the luxury electric sanlunche waiting to drive you around the top of the Western Hills when you come visit us in Kunming.
So, we ordered the top on Taobao (shocker) and it arrived a couple days ago. We had to go pick it up from our apartment complex’s main office, which is where large packages sometimes get delivered. Wouldn’t ya know it, it started pouring rain right about then, so we drove home with the weatherproof top all packaged up in a box, balanced precariously on our laps in the back of the che, doing precisely nothing to protect us from the downpour. Alanis should write a song about it.
After the rain stopped, my husband and son spent something like two hours navigating through Chinese instructions and lots of parts, but managed to get the top put on, even after the sun went down and they were working with flashlights in the dark. Way to persevere, guys!
Wow. It is a thing of beauty. So much blue, and so much rejoicing. We took a victory lap around our apartment complex that very night.
The next morning, we rode it across town. Look how awesome it is! Look how protected we are!
The kids said it was like riding in an RV. (I’m not sure they have ever actually ridden in an RV, but they are allowed their opinions.) In fact, they decided that it is so much like riding in an RV that we ought to have a folding table for food and card games in the back. They settled for a lap desk with UNO.
Yes, we seriously played a few hands of UNO while bumping and tumbling along the streets of Kunming. I’m amazed we didn’t lose any cards out the sides.
For the first time ever, I was sort of hoping it would rain while we were out and about. It started sprinkling just a wee bit, and we were giddy with excitement. “I can hear the rain on the roof!” one unnamed child exclaimed. Sadly, the sprinkling just kind of went away, but our happiness did not. We have a weatherproof top on our che!
We’ve already had a few friends ask HOW DID YOU DO THAT? Because, clearly, this sucker is just sheer awesomeness. Well, mostly blue plasticky awesomeness with a few sheer/transparent plastic awesomeness panels to serve as windows. Anyway, here are some vendors if you’d like to add a top to your own sanlunche. If you end up getting one and like it, you can thank me with a coffee, 好不好? 🙂