02-Apr-2002 -- This story continues from 27ºN 113ºE.
TUESDAY 2 APRIL 2002. I caught the 1:50 p.m. bus from Hengdong to Changsha. A conversation with the driver just before we got under way revealed that the route the bus would follow would take us right past this confluence. And so, at 4 p.m., I disembarked at Muyun, just a kilometre SW of the confluence.
I bought some water, entrusted my backpack to the shopkeeper, then set off in search of the confluence. The first half an hour was wasted, after I took a wrong turn and ended up at a dead end at the entrance to a cement factory. However, I eventually found the right track, which led me through an almost magical-looking tunnel (picture #2).
At the other end of this tunnel was a wide valley, with a farmhouse at the bottom (picture #3). Behind the farmhouse was a small orchard (picture #4), and behind the orchard some forest. The confluence was just a few metres beyond the orchard in the forest (picture #5).
By 5:30 p.m., I was back at the shop where I'd left my bag, and soon on another bus to complete my journey to Changsha. Changsha is the capital of Hunan province, and is BIG. The bus went only as far as the south bus station, still 10 kilometres south of the city centre. From here I took a commuter bus to the west bus station, which went through the city centre, effectively giving me a very cheap scenic tour of Changsha (or at least part of it).
I was later to learn that, in addition to the south and west bus stations, there was also an east bus station. (My map showed a north bus station too, but that didn't seem to figure in the overall scheme of things. Perhaps it once did.)
Now at the west bus station, I was 10 kilometres west of the city centre. On the trip through the city from the south bus station, the bus had passed a dazzling array of hotels. I wanted something convenient but not expensive. In the end, I decided to let a taxi driver make the decision for me. He took me to the Great Wall Hotel--very reasonably priced, and conveniently located between the city centre and the main Changsha railway station. I was very happy with his choice.
This story continues at 29ºN 113ºE.