30-Mar-2005 -- Continued from 30°N 121°E.
We got back to the Shangyu Hotel at 10 a.m., and checked out 45 minutes later. We then took a commuter bus to the west bus station, and from there the 11:20 a.m. bus to Hangzhou, the provincial capital.
As expected, the bus station at which we arrived in Hangzhou was not the bus station we needed to depart from for the next leg of our journey. However things were extremely efficiently organised--in stark contrast to the chaotic state of public transport that prevailed in times gone by--and just 10 metres from where we'd stepped off our bus we were able to board another bus specifically for transferring passengers directly between the Hangzhou East and Hangzhou North Stations. At the Hangzhou North Station we purchased tickets to Changxing, the northernmost county of Huzhou Prefecture. Our bus was due to depart at 1:45 p.m., leaving us just sufficient time to go across the street and enjoy a lunch of authentic Lanzhou lamian (pulled noodles) with beef.
When we arrived in Changxing at 3:10 p.m., with the confluence 8.5 kilometres to the east, the efficient transport system did not let us down. We were able to get straight onto a bus bound for Hongqiao Township, arriving there at 3:35 p.m., the confluence now just two kilometres northeast. Just as we got off the bus, a large crowd of schoolchildren was queuing up to get on.
There were hundreds of green plastic bottles floating in a large pond in Hongqiao, supporting submersed nets. It was good to see that some productive use was being made of what would otherwise have been yet more rubbish--something China has way too much of these days.
The previous visitors mentioned that there were only infrequent bridges across the many irrigation canals. We found no shortage of bridges, and saw yet another under construction. Also under construction were a number of concrete ditches, one of which was just to the east of the confluence. Chinese concrete companies must be doing a roaring trade, what with all the concrete roads, concrete bridges and concrete ditches being built in the countryside these days.
It took us just 45 minutes to reach the confluence, from where we took the regulation north-south-east-west shots, as well as one looking southeast over the general confluence area from one of several nearby graves. As usual, we celebrated success with a round of Tim's wife's excellent brownies.
When we arrived back in Hongqiao, we discovered we'd missed the last bus back to Changxing, so we took up the offer of four other guys who had also missed the last bus, and shared the cost of hiring a van. We checked into a small hotel with friendly staff located just a short walk from the Changxing bus station, and then went into the centre of town for a session at an internet bar, followed by dinner at a western restaurant, and a good hairdresser for Targ.
Story continues at 31°N 121°E.