Story starts at 37N 137E
One week after leaving Beijing, I stopped in early afternoon in the little village of Deng You Fang to spend the night. The next morning a villager gave me a ride to the next town of Huade, in Inner Mongolia, from where I took a bus to Xiang Huan Qi. This is where the asphalt road stops and where the dirt road begins. I was planning to spend two nights in Xian Huan Qi before getting on another bus on my way to the main road going to the Mongolian border at Erenhot. The first night, at around one o’clock in the morning, the police woke me up to check my passport. I had had the same visit the day before in Deng You Fang but there they came in mid afternoon. On both occasion they were very courteous.
My plan to visit the confluence was to go back to Huade by bus, 50km south, and then try to find a taxi to get as close as possible to the point. But I missed the first bus and the next one was three hours later. A taxi driver offered to take me near Huade and back for about $10. The deal was that it had to be done in less than three hours. Every extra hour would have to be paid $5.
It took less than one hour to get north of Huade where a new highway has just been completed. We followed that highway east for half a dozen kilometers but couldn’t find a way to go a bit further north where the confluence is located.
We came back towards Huade and just before reaching the intersection where we had passed a bit earlier, we found a small dirt road going north. From there the confluence was seven kilometers away. We came across a small village and a second. At that point there was only four more kilometers to go but the taxi driver told me that he wouldn’t have enough gas to come back and he wanted to return. I checked the gauge and told him to continue.
Shortly after there was a fence and a gate made of barbed wire blocking our way. The taxi driver didn’t want to go any further. I opened the gate and told him to go through. Finally we ended up in a very tiny village where the track ended. I told the taxi driver to wait for me and walked the last 400 meters over the hill to the confluence.
When I came back there were some Mongolian villagers talking with the taxi driver and a flock of sheep near the well. It had been just over two hours since we had left Xiang Huan Qi. We made it back to my hotel just on time.
Story continues at 45N 110E