23-Jan-2004 -- 39 N – 116 E Hebei Province, China
Visit Date: January 23, 2004
Completed visit by the Yip-Bannicq Group (Ray Yip, Florence Bannicq and Oreo).
The Chinese lunar New Year (Spring Festival) starts on January 22 this year, and it is a week everything comes to a halt across China. What is better than a little line hunting when we have a week on our hands with all facilities closed. A trip out of Beijing also lets us see what it is like in rural areas during this festival period.
We decided on N 39 and E 116 on the morning of the hunt because it appeared to be the nearest unvisited confluence point from Beijing, and knowing it is located in the flat land, it would not be very complicated to reach. We left home around 10 am with outside temperature about –10 degrees centigrade but sunny.
The 130 km drive to the nearest county capital of Zong Chan County took about one hour and a half, and most of it was driving on expressways. This is an agriculture part of the Hebei province with villages every 1-3 kilometers, which means plenty of roadway and we pretty much followed the GPS toward the point.
The final stretch about 1.5 kilometers was farmland and we were able to drive on a path between fields until about 0.5 km from the point. If we had pushed, we could have driven within 150 meters, but a little walking even in a cold and windy day made more sense. Florence guided the small party to the confluence point just about 2 hours from the time we had left home. It is situated in the middle of an empty plot of land, which we saw had been planted with corn in the growing season.
The nearest village – Guo Chun, about 1 km from the confluence point, has several garment factories in addition to the traditional farming. There were only few people on the streets. In the same area, brick making is also a big business.
The deep winter day of flat and empty farmland is not the prettiest point we have visited thus far. The drive through many towns and villages with all shops closed is a sight that is very rare in the bustling China we are accustomed to.
This is our 3rd point visited on the 116 E line, and 2nd one for Oreo, who was very happy running in the fields, it sure beats napping in the apartment. Overall, this is a great little hunt for the most peaceful time of the year. Otherwise, we would not go out on such a cold and windy day.