04-Jul-2008 -- Story continues from 33°N 112°E.
Back at the main road, it's no problem to catch one of the many passing buses east to the municipal capital Nányáng (南阳市), where we check into the International Hotel (国际饭店) - drab on the outside, but very nicely appointed on the inside. We enjoy a nice buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant to celebrate the first two-confluence day of our trip, and my birthday.
Later that evening, while Ah Feng is washing our large assortment of dirty clothes in the bathroom sink, it gives way under the strain, and smashes into pieces on the floor! We are given a new room, but must await the manager's decision tomorrow morning as to whether we are liable for the damages or not.
It takes a protracted round of negotiation and persuasion, but eventually we are absolved of culpability for the broken washbasin. We check out, leaving our bags with reception, and hop on a passing bus east to Shèqí County (社旗县). Upon arrival in Shèqí, we are soon on another bus, bound for Hǎozhài Town (郝寨镇) to the SE.
We get off at 33°0'53.0"N 113°1'4.0"E, 2.3 km NE of the confluence, and follow a nice, cement road through Kāngzhuāng Village (康庄村) - where it changes into a dirt road - until we eventually find ourselves some 700 m east of the confluence, with a river in-between! After a slight detour, we find a way across the river, and finally locate the confluence in Wángtáozhuāng Village (王陶庄村).
The point is actually in the Zhèng Family Fish Pond (郑家鱼塘), 6 m from the western bank. The pond is about 70 x 50 m in size. I have to go down to the water's edge, gingerly treading amid the foul-smelling, rotting garbage and occasional dead fish, to get the best GPS reading. I then take the north-south-east-west shots, before joining Ah Feng and the fish pond owners for a cup of tea and a chat.
Unlike 34°N 111°E the day before, this time it's a relaxing atmosphere, and we have plenty of time to make conversation and learn more about the locals. Mrs Zhèng, her sister and their mother take care of the fish pond. The closest point to the confluence is right beside their house, however they are in the process of building a new house elsewhere in the village. Mrs Zhèng's husband, Mr Liú (刘), studied Buddhism for 15 years, and uses Buddhism to cure sickness. He grew up in the city, but when his business failed three years ago, he came back to Wángtáozhuāng Village to live with his wife.
After saying our goodbyes, we make our way back on another excellent cement road, which runs directly from Wángtáozhuāng Village to the main road, emerging at 33°1'2.3"N 113°0'41.2"E.
Story continues at 32°N 114°E.