02-Jul-2008 -- Story continues from 35°N 114°E.
We catch the 12 noon bus from Yuányáng SW back to Zhèngzhōu. It's at this point in our journey, having completed the first four confluences, that we were to bid farewell to Peter Cao and Richard Jones, had cruel luck not prevented them from joining us at the last minute. Our thoughts are with them now.
A no. 32 commuter bus gets us from Zhèngzhōu's north bus station to the train station, where we learn that the only train west to Xīn'ān County (新安县) departs at 2 p.m. each day, and we have just missed it. Never mind. We get tickets on the 3:20 p.m. bus to Xīn'ān instead, and following a relaxing drive along the freeway, during which I have plenty of time to catch up on email thanks to my company-issued BlackBerry, we arrive in Xīn'ān shortly after 6 p.m. The sun is shining upon our arrival, in contrast to the rain earlier in the day.
We check into the Xīn'ān Hotel (新安宾馆), then hit the town in search of interesting things to eat, of which there are many, including spicy fried corn-on-the-cob, cooked by a lady who is obviously a connoisseur of fine food.
The next morning is dry and sunny, and the hotel's complimentary breakfast is excellent. We secure the good seats at the front of the bus NW to Yùlǐ Township (峪里乡), due to depart at 9:30 a.m. (one of only two daily, the other at 1 p.m.). At this juncture, we must thank the previous visitor, Tuur Ruytjens, for his excellent instructions for reaching this confluence. We have no trouble at all finding it. Of course, the bus driver, ticket seller, and the rest of the passengers all find it quite incongruous when we ask to be let off at what seems to be a totally arbitrary, nondescript point on the road!
Our GPS says the confluence is 22 m NW of the road, and we climb the small knoll and find it in a tiny clearing, surrounded by lots of prickly bushes. I snap a photo of the GPS, as well as the customary shots facing north, south, east and west.
We are actually very near the highest point of the road, just before it goes through a cutting and begins to descend again. There are consequently some quite spectacular views all round - air pollution notwithstanding. I return to the other side of the knoll, nearer the road, to take a more meaningful photo facing south. Then, crossing the road, I take another east-facing shot, revealing the terraces on the other side.
Story continues at 34°N 111°E.