15-Jul-2008 -- Story continues from 36°N 117°E.
Our bus from Mǎzhuāng back to Tài'ān takes us to the Tài'ān bus station, where we're able to purchase tickets on the 3:50 p.m. bus south to Téngzhōu City (滕州市). This leaves sufficient time to go out and buy some refreshing watermelon to eat on the bus.
Because the bus does not terminate in Téngzhōu, we are dropped off on the street opposite Téngzhōu's main bus station, and are immediately besieged by touts, tuk-tuks and taxis, all vying for our custom. We manage to extract sufficient information from the mêlée to learn that the best nearby hotel is the Táorán Business Hotel (陶然商务酒店), and decide to make our way there on foot, much to the disappointment of the hopeful tuk-tuk and taxi drivers, and the touts who want us to stay in their respective guesthouses.
In most hotel rooms in China, there is usually an assortment of items for sale: snacks, playing cards, condoms and the like. The Táorán Business Hotel is no exception in this regard, and among the items on offer in our room is a girlie magazine with some bewildering English text on the cover.
The next morning, after checking out and leaving our bags with the hotel reception desk, we make our way to the bus station, where we're able to find the right bus to Jísuǒ Town (级索镇) to the SW; it's the Liúzhuāng Town (留庄镇) bus, and one leaves every 15 minutes. It's very foggy with the odd drop of rain when we depart, and this has turned to drizzle by the time we reach Jísuǒ. The confluence is 3.2 km SW.
After asking several minivan drivers, we find one who knows where Jīnpō Village (金坡村) is, and quotes us a reasonable fare for the journey there and back. Our thanks go to the previous visitors, Stephan Angsüsser and family, for including this crucial piece of information (the village name) in their visit report. It makes reaching this confluence a breeze.
Our minivan parks in the quiet village street on which the confluence is located, and we get out. There is still a haystack at the point, just as there was at the time of the previous visit. I take the GPS and north-south-east-west shots, while Ah Feng chats with Mrs Mǎn (满), who lives in the house next to the confluence, on the east side of the street.
Story continues at 35°N 118°E.