On Saturday, August 2nd, Peter, my mom, and I decided to go and try to find a confluence near us. We observed the different confluences on the map of Sichuan, and finally decided upon a location at 29ºN 104ºE. It seemed fairly easy to locate, with the confluence being near a road. After preparing for our day with many necessities, we left for the confluence around noon.
After a short lunch break in Leshan, and a total of about three hours drive, we finally arrived in the town of the confluence, Tanku. Tanku is a fairly small town with mostly farmers forming its population. Many high mountains created valleys for cars to drive through and for people to build houses. There were no roads for cars to drive in the way the GPS was pointing, so there was no other choice but to walk to the confluence. I took one look at the way we were going to be headed, and I knew that I had not been prepared for this trip at all. I had worn slippers because I thought we were only driving, and there would be roads for cars to drive anywhere. But in a small town like this, many families don't own a car or even a motorcycle. Many farmers that live up on the hills load crops and things that need to be carried on their backs and go down or uphill on foot. I had not expected to find myself in a place so different from the busy city that we live in. We had at least 1.3 km to walk before we reached the confluence, and I wasn't about to give up since we had already driven so far.
Before we started climbing up the hill, many of the local farmers started asking us what we were doing. We told them that we were just trying to find something that we saw on a map, but they were very curious and thought that we were trying to find priceless valuables hidden up in the hills. Some of the farmers followed us part way up the hill since they were going to collect crops anyway. I could not imagine anyone having to climb these hills everyday with heavy loads on their backs. The "road" leading uphill was created with rocks, and because the road was so uneven, there was no way of getting up there but walking. I was sweating already after only ten or fifteen minutes of walking. It was very hot and sunny, and there weren't any trees to keep us shaded. The road had ended and there was no way to get to the confluence but to struggle our way through many bushes, and small fields of corn and other crops. An hour later, we approached the road again. This time, it was above us, and as if we were rock climbers, we climbed onto the road. This made our journey much easier, but the road did not extend very far. Unfortunately, the GPS was pointing up towards the forest and the rest of our trip took place there.
At five in the afternoon, we finally found the confluence at 29ºN 104ºE. It took us another hour or two before we finally returned to the road where the car was parked. Although we were restless after the long day, we were filled with joy because we had stood exactly where the confluence would be located on a map. We drove back in the direction of Chengdu, but ordered lots to eat in Leshan. We were all pretty tired and hungry.
I'm glad that I came with my parents to find this confluence because it has taught me a lot. For example, don't wear slippers the next time we go and try to find a confluence. I have realized how lucky I am in many ways compared to the people that live in those hills. We saw some children barefoot, picking lots of corn so they could sell them in the city, and women carrying heavy loads of grass. Old men and women who should have retired long ago, were out in the fields on a bright sunny day, trying to earn a living. Looking back at all the people in the hills and the way they live, I have come to love my life, and
hope for other people to learn to enjoy and cherish their lives also.