05-Jul-2010 -- Story continues from 33°N 120°E.
We caught a bus at 11:30 a.m. from Línhú back to Xīnghuà, where we had lunch at the restaurant of our hotel. We then caught the 1:50 p.m. bus to Yánchéng (盐城市). Just before it left, a huge argument erupted, involving several people, however it was conducted entirely in local dialect, so we had no idea what it was all about. It was resolved when one of the protagonists and his lady friend left the bus.
We arrived in Yánchéng at 3:30 p.m., and immediately transferred onto a bus to Bīnhǎi (滨海县). Neither the bus to Yánchéng nor the bus to Bīnhǎi were very flattering; they were dirty, the air-conditioning barely worked, and the seats had multiple defects. It was clear we were leaving the more affluent parts of Jiāngsū Province.
As the afternoon wore on, I began to feel pretty sick with a high fever—a combination of the cold I was developing, and too much sun. So when we arrived in Bīnhǎi, I asked what was the best hotel in town, and we were directed to the Tiānhǎiyuán International Hotel (天海元国际大酒店).
It was a four-star affair, but we got a very comfortable room for just 251 yuan (US$ 37), with a nice view of Bīnhǎi. The room had a bathtub, and the first thing I did was to have a good soak. I then slept while Ah Feng went out to buy our dinner, and some medicine for me.
After consuming both the medicine and the dinner, my fever suddenly dropped, like someone had flicked a switch. I was very relieved, because it had felt like my brain had been melting. This was the best hotel we had stayed in so far on this trip, and we enjoyed the luxury.
The next morning, following our now usual pattern, we went down for the complimentary breakfast at 7 a.m., then checked out shortly after 8 a.m. We took a taxi to the bus station, where we caught the 8:40 a.m. bus to Càiqiáo (蔡桥镇).
When we got off the bus in Càiqiáo, a motorcyclist approached us, and after a brief negotiation, agreed to take us to the confluence and back for 20 yuan (US$ 3). We proceeded north on a good road for a couple of kilometres, then turned right over a small bridge, and zigzagged our way to the confluence on ever-narrowing dirt trails.
With a few dozen metres left to go, we dismounted and made the rest of the way on foot. As we did so, we heard the distinctive call of an Indian Cuckoo in a nearby tree: "One more bottle."
The confluence is located on the south side of a small irrigation ditch lined with trees. With our motorcyclist and a curious local looking on, I did the confluence dance among the trees, until the GPS finally zeroed out. Then I took the north-south-east-west photos.
The curious local, who stood squarely in the middle of the field of view as I took the shot to the west, turned out to be the owner of the confluence (so he was entitled to be there, according to the rules of the DCP). His name was Zuǒ Qíjūn (左其军).
Soon we were joined by another local, who had been watching proceedings from the opposite side of the irrigation ditch. The locals explained that this particular area is called Shísìqǐngcūn Wǔzǔ (十四顷村五组), which means 14-Qǐng Village, Group 5, "qǐng" being a unit of area equal to 6.67 hectares.
Story continues at 35°N 119°E.