05-Jul-2008 -- Story continues from 32°N 114°E.
Back in Xìnyáng, we return to the four-star Sunlight Hotel to collect our bags from reception. Availing myself of the toilet facilities adjacent to the lobby, I discover one of the best mistranslations I've ever seen in China: a sign above a warm-air hand-dryer that says "Bake phones". I must look rather odd rushing back into the toilet with my camera to capture it!
We are soon on a bus east to Huángchuān County (潢川县). In Huángchuān, after a little searching, we find a bus south to Péngjiādiàn Township (彭家店乡). The locals refer to it simply as "Péngdiàn" (彭店), hence the difficulty in locating the correct bus.
We set off at 2 p.m., however, after having progressed only a couple of blocks, we stop while an unusual passenger is manhandled onto the bus: someone's brand new fridge. Once we're on our way again, we discover that the bus goes down a main road far to the east of the confluence, rather than along the secondary road via Bǔtǎjí Town (卜塔集镇), which would have taken us right past it.
So, from Péngjiādiàn, we are faced with a 3.5 km walk NW up the secondary road in the direction of Bǔtǎjí. There are several minivans, but no one is interested in taking us. In fact, the atmosphere is very strange indeed. Normally, Chinese are friendly and willing to help, or at least will take an interest in what the foreigner is doing in their midst, but here in Péngjiādiàn, we find the residents to be particularly cool and unhelpful. We couldn't even find someone who was willing to look after our backpacks while we walked to the confluence and back. Weird!
On our way to the confluence, we pass through Qínjí Village (秦集村), which is about 1 km short of our goal. We leave the road when the confluence is 143 m SW, and pass through a small cemetery. We find the rice paddy described by the previous visitor, Zhang Zhishi, however the paddy must have been downsized since his visit, because the confluence lies in a section that has been given over to some other, tall crop, the identity of which we are not sure. I break off a leaf for later identification.
Amongst the tall plants, I find the point and snap the GPS, but the north-south-east-west shots end up being simply four photos of the leaves of the unknown plants, which are much taller than me, so I go back to the edge of the field, 14 m to the west, and take a more meaningful set of north-south-east-west photos from here.
On the way back to Péngjiādiàn, it starts to rain, but we are fortunate to get a lift most of the way in a truck--the truck driver being the first helpful person we've encountered since arriving in Péngjiādiàn.
During the bus trip back to Huángchuān, we show the leaf we souvenired from the confluence to some other passengers. A girl tells us it's the leaf of the Chinese parasol tree (梧桐树), however a later search of images on the internet shows the Chinese parasol tree to have distinctly different shaped leaves. If anyone can identify this plant from the photos (in particular, the photo facing east), then please do let us know!
Story continues at 33°N 114°E.