19-Mar-2009 -- On March 18th, 2009 my plane touched down in Dalian China. I had just arrived in Shanghai two days ago. Taking a first visit confluence was the only reason for my visit to China’s Liaoning Province. My sister, who has lived in China for over seven years, had lived in Dalian while attending a university that taught foreigners how to speak Chinese. During her time there, she had made many friends, but two of her best friends, Mira and Grigory were happy to host my visit to their city. Mira met me at the airport and took me out to eat at a Korean seafood restaurant when I arrived.
Dalian is a port city, which borders the Bohai Sea on the West and the Yellow Sea on the East. At one time it was occupied by the British and the Japanese and had been leased by the Soviet Union. Because of these situations and the fact that it resides closely to the borders of Russia and Korea, an odd mixture of building structures and foods can be found throughout the city.
On March 19th, 2009 Mira and I walked down the street to the University where she had met my sister for the first time. It was there that we were to meet Peter and Dennis, two hobby photographers that I had meet over the Internet. Dennis, a manager of a manufacturing plant, had a car and was willing to take us northbound to the confluence. Peter, who was my initial connect for this trip, was a student at a local University who was finishing his thesis for a Doctorate in Finance/Economics. It was through Peter that I meet Dennis. Their interest in the event was the peculiar nature of the trip itself, the chance to practice their English, and the opportunity to photograph the event.
After the meet and greet, we all hopped in the car and headed Northbound on 沈大高速, which is the main highway to Shenyang. After traveling for approximately 150 kilometers and stopping several times at tollbooths, we exited the highway to travel G202. This is as far as I mapped out the trip given the resources I had. Still approximately 10 kilometers from the confluence, we started to follow the GPS.
We passed two small towns in route. They were very primitive. Unlike the big cities of China, their buildings were made of brick and were heated by chimneys burning coal. Deep ditches on either side of the street acted as a sewer system for rain run off. Tractors and mules seemed to be the primary mode of transportation. Although there were a few cars, large diesel trucks hauling goods from the farmland back to the larger cities dominated the road. Eventually we had to journey onto warn out dirt roads. These roads did not have any gravel and were heavily washed out. I believe only donkeys and tractors used them because they were narrower than the tires on Dennis’s car. After driving these roads it was quite ironic that we ended back up onto a paved road.
Once we were four hundred meters from the confluence we had to start walking.
The confluence was on a farmer’s apple orchard. We approached the farmhouse in an attempt to explain to the landowners the purpose of our trip. The farmhouse itself was built of brick, heated by coal, and had no plumbing or electricity. The farmer, who had little or no education, could not grasp the concept of satellites or geo positioning. Her child, who had never seen a foreigner before, could do little but cry and hide behind his mother’s legs. After some convincing she was kind enough to allow us to travel to our destination and take a few photographs.
I took all the required photographs for obtaining the first time visit. A picture in each direction while standing directly over the confluence, a picture of the GPS unit reading the exact coordinates with five decimals of precision, a picture of the confluence from exactly 300 meters, and several other photographs of the area were taken.
When we arrived back in Dalian, I bought everyone Beijing style hotpot to thank them for helping me in my quest. Being able to be the first person to document a confluence has been a dream of mine for quite some time and I am very happy to have accomplished it. I will remember the food, culture and the people that helped me along the way for the rest of my life.