13-Jul-2008 -- Story continues from 36°N 116°E.
Our minivan gets us back to Táiqián before 4 p.m., in time to catch the last bus NE to Jǐnán (济南), capital of neighbouring Shāndōng Province (山东省). In Jǐnán, after some negotiation over the price, we check into the well-appointed, four-star, Sunshine Business Hotel (阳光商务大酒店), just next to the central long-distance bus station - excellent value for money for a big city hotel.
Later on, on our way into the city centre for dinner, our taxi passes by another hotel that seems ideally suited for confluence hunters: the Latitude and Longitude Hotel (经纬宾馆)! It's definitely not a four-star establishment though; the smaller writing on the sign says: "Standard guest rooms; ordinary guest rooms; hourly guest rooms". Sadly, prostitution is rife in modern-day China.
The next morning, we need to find a bus NW to Xiàjīn County (夏津县). Jǐnán's huge, central long-distance bus station is brand new, and very efficient and well-organised. We have no trouble catching the 8:30 a.m. bus to Xiàjīn. Despite the early hour, it's already apparent that today is going to be another hot and dry day, with plenty of sun. The air pollution in Jǐnán does not seem quite as bad as we've recently experienced in Hénán Province, which only serves to accentuate the force of the sun's rays.
Just north of Jǐnán, we cross the wide Yellow River (Huánghé 黄河) on a pontoon bridge. Along the way to Xiàjīn, we pass by many mobile haystacks. The Xiàjīn bus station is 3.5 km SE of the confluence. The sun is really baking down now. We find an air-conditioned taxi to take us to the entrance of the Huáfāng Xiàjīn Industrial Park (华芳夏津工业园).
While the taxi driver waits in the comfort of his air-conditioned cab, we brave the blistering sun to take the requisite photos: GPS and north-south-east-west shots. We then hop back in the cab, beat a hasty retreat to the bus station, and are on our way back to Jǐnán before noon.
This would have to rate as one of the easiest confluence visits we've ever done; a real surgical strike: arrive, take photos, leave - no messing about. Our job was made even easier thanks to the excellent report by the previous visitors.
Story continues at 37°N 117°E.