31-Jul-2005 -- Story continues from 32°N 116°E.
Sat 30 Jul 2005 (Day 2, cont'd), 2 p.m. - We catch a passing bus north to Fuyang, capital of Fuyang Prefecture, arriving at 4 p.m. Five minutes later we are on the move again, this time in a bus west to Linquan, capital of neighbouring Linquan County.
5:20 p.m. - We arrive in Linquan, take a taxi to the majestic old Linquan International Hotel, and check in. The confluence is still a further 25 kilometres west. Dinner is taken at a small nearby restaurant specialising in vegetarian mince rolls, apparently the local delicacy. They are excellent value.
Sun 31 Jul 2005 (Day 3), 7:30 a.m. - After having our complimentary buffet breakfast, we check out of the hotel and take a taxi back to the bus station, where we find the 8 a.m. bus to Jiangzhai. Surprisingly, it leaves at 7:45 a.m.
The first section of the road, south to Weizhai, is in a terrible state of repair, and we soon join a long line of slow-moving buses, trucks, cars, three-wheelers, tractors and bicycles. By contrast, the road west from Weizhai to Jiangzhai is a good sealed road, lined on either side by large overhanging trees that make GPS satellite reception difficult at times. We pass by quite a number of roadside beehives on this stretch.
9 a.m. - We get off the bus at Jiangzhai, with the confluence now two kilometres NE. Disembarking at the same place as us is a girl named Han Xiaohua. She lives in the village of Hanpozhai, which is just 850 metres SW of the confluence. We walk along a muddy road together to her place, where we leave our bags before continuing on to the confluence.
Xiao Xu and Han Xiaohua find the confluence point in a field of sesame. The GPS is passed to Nur, who also secures a zero reading. Photos are taken looking north, south, east and west. There are a few stands of corn planted nearby, as well as a small patch of red beans to the west. We cannot locate the "little house on the prairie" that the previous visitors saw near the confluence point, however.
As we prepare to leave, a straw-hatted farmer, who had earlier been talking with Jim, gets ready to spray the crops, donning his poison backpack with the aid of another farmer wearing an identical straw hat.
We make our way back through the fields to Han Xiaohua's home to collect our belongings. A fair crowd of women and children have assembled there to see us off. We say goodbye, then walk back down the muddy track to the main road to wait for a bus back to Linquan.
Story continues at 33°N 116°E.