03-Aug-2003 -- Continued from 28°N 117°E.
Sunday 3 August 2003 – I woke just before 6 a.m. without the aid of my alarm. My clean clothes were delivered to my room shortly thereafter, although some were still slightly damp. I prepared what I needed for this three-confluence trip to the southwest of Nanchang, then left the rest with reception when I checked out.
I caught the 8:04 a.m. train from Nanchang to Xinyu. The countryside we travelled through was absolutely dead flat. On the train, one of the conductors patiently demonstrated various puzzles and toys to the captive audience in the hopes of making a sale. Most entertaining I thought was the gyroscope, which she would balance on a length of string, among other tricks. The girl sitting next to me bought a set of 12 Chinese puzzles, each consisting of two interlocked pieces of carefully shaped metal. The train conductor could separate and put them back together again in the blink of an eye, making it all look so infuriatingly simple, but my fellow passenger found most of them to be impossible.
After disembarking in Xinyu at 10:35 a.m., with the confluence 21.1 kilometres north-northeast, I hopped aboard a bus heading towards Shanggao. At 11:20 a.m. I asked the driver to stop, and got off with the confluence just 280 metres west-northwest of the road.
I followed a gravel road through a construction site towards the confluence. The flags adorning each side of the road said "Yuzhang Liquor Industry", possibly a firm from Henan Province, because the first character "Yu" is also another name for Henan Province.
The confluence was located on the flat top of the hill behind the construction site. It was now 11:35 a.m., and the sun was already baking down. I took the regulation four photos, facing north, south, east and west, then recorded the data from my GPS: elevation of 81 metres, accuracy of 7 metres. I also took a close-up shot showing the fruit of one of the tea trees, which were growing over most of the hill, as well as a photo showing the view back down to the construction site and the main road.
As I made my way back through the construction site, I stopped to ask the canteen staff what they knew about the trees on the hill. It was they who told me that they were tea trees ("cha shu"), and they explained that these were quite distinct from tea bushes (from which tea leaves are obtained). They said the fruit I'd photographed was used in cooking somehow, although I'm afraid the precise details were lost on me.
At 12 noon I caught a passing bus back to Xinyu, from where I was able to hop straight onto another bus bound for Anfu that was just pulling out of the station. The ticket seller on the Anfu bus could speak some passable English. We arrived in Anfu at 3:45 p.m., giving me just enough time to buy three more bottles of chilled water, as well as a corncob, before departing on the 4 p.m. bus for Yongxin.
I got to Yongxin at about 6 p.m. There were no more buses to my ultimate destination of Wenzhu at this hour, so I checked into the nearby Xianggan Hotel, supposedly the best in town. I made sure that they had the national sports channel, CCTV5, so that I could watch the German Formula One Grand Prix, then went downstairs for dinner in the hotel followed by a quick session in an Internet bar across the street.
I made sure I was back in my room by 8 p.m., in time for the start of the race, only to discover that it had been pre-empted by a live telecast of the unveiling of the official logo for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Nothing like getting one's priorities right! I watched Jackie Chan do his bit for China for a while, then got bored and switched it off, quite disappointed, and went to bed.
Unfortunately I forgot to disconnect the telephone before going to sleep--a bad mistake in a Chinese hotel. About an hour later I was awoken by the inevitable prostitute's phone call. After ripping the offensive instrument out of its socket (that's how I felt, but in actual fact I just calmly disconnected it), I switched the TV back on to see how Jackie Chan was getting on with the Olympic logo. But instead they were now broadcasting a delayed, shortened version of the German Grand Prix, so at least I saw some of it, although I missed the crash at the start.
Story continues at 27°N 114°E.