14-Dec-2003 -- This the second part of a two-confluence hunt starting at 23N 114E
At 6 AM Targ's HK$4,000 alarm clock came to life while it was still pitch dark outside.
The plan was to get to Foshan as quickly as possible. From the hotel, we took a quick taxi
to the bus station. We missed the waiting bus, but the next one was leaving in 15 minutes.
At dawn even the dingiest places can have their beauty. So it was with Guangzhou. The
bus passed under overpass, after overpass as we moved out of the city. Street sweepers
were stirring up dust, cyclists ringing bells.
Foshan is about 30 km from Guangzhou, and the two cities have grown such that there is
little countryside left between them. At the Foshan bus station, we exited through a long
tunnel and out a stainless steel gate into a waiting crowd of motorcycle taxi drivers all
holding a out a helmet as if they were looking for a handout.
There we met two locals who wanted to join us in the hunt: a woman, who made the
inexplicable choice of Man for her English name, and her boyfriend, Feng Xiangzhi. Targ
met Man in 2002 and did 22N 113E
confluence together on March 9, 2002. This one will be her second confluence. Her
boyfriend Mr. Feng works for the power company and was very interested in learning about
GPS and the confluence project. We popped into a taxi and took it to the west along the
inevitable road construction past building after building of ceramics factories.
The dust and exhaust was thick enough to cut with an axe, and many people seemed to
have respiratory problems. Using the GPS arrow as a guide, we directed our driver to make
the necessary maneuvers. As we were closing in on the confluence the road traffic suddenly
cleared up and the driver put the pedal to the metal. We had a bit of difficulty in
getting him to realize that we were closing in fast on the spot.
At 120 meters a break in the median appeared with a small driveway and we screeched to
a stop. Popping out of the taxi we passed through a village sign gate over the road. I
gave the GPS to Feng Xiangzhi and demonstrated the how we were homing in on the point.
At about 50 meters, the needle swung left and with Targ leading the way, we passed
between two brick sheds with a metal works on the left and a pig pen and fishing net
repair on the right. As this was Targ's second visit, he had warned us the smell was not
easily forgotten. We quickly understood why as the smell of pig poop and fish was
On the other side of the sheds was the fishpond full of water and we could see the fish
jumping out of the water from time to time. The confluence lies about mid-pond, near where
a water aerator is located. There was a small fishing boat nearby, and we debated as to
whether or not we should try to get the "perfect reading," but time was
particularly short for me, as I had another soccer game to go to at 10 AM in Guangzhou.
With victory photos after the regulation NESW photos, we went back to find our driver
waiting for us.
On the ride back to Foshan we encountered a bit more traffic, and Mr. Feng commented
that a times the traffic queue can be three km long. Fortune was smiling on us, however,
and we got back just in time for the next bus to Guangzhou. Targ wasn't feeling well, so
he passed up an invitation to spend the day with Man and Mr. Feng, opting to head directly
back to Hong Kong. He later wrote back to say that he spilled his guts on the train in the
First Class restroom, and felt much better afterward. I had a bit of stomach trouble later
in the day as well, and attributed it to the food we ate outside the Dongguan Train
Station the previous day, though it could also have been the tap water we used to brush
our teeth, which had a strong metal taste.
Returning to Guangzhou, I made connections with me teammates and we played our game
getting thoroughly trashed by the decided better-trained Beijing team.
All in all, a great weekend doing two things I really love, confluence hunting and
football. If I could have included cycling, it would have been perfect.
I have christened this the Pig and Fishfarm Confluence.