15-Jun-2003 -- Pascoe Trott (Driver)
Avery Colcord (Navigator)
Matt Clapp (Photographer)
The King of Confluences
We named 120 E 30 N a “King Confluence” figuring that there were only 15 such confluence points of symmetry on the globe. This one is exactly a third of the way east around the globe and one third N toward the North Pole. 120.00000, 30.00000 – lots of zeroes.
We set off by road at 8 am from Shanghai. China’s new, but already uneven & pot-holed highways soon brought us to Hangzhou where a brace of very helpful taxi drivers guided us through the southern precincts and onto the National Route 320 (which leads ultimately to Myanmar - being the road from Shanghai to Ruili, Yunnan). We only traveled about 20 km, in overcast conditions, along the 320 to the industrial pit called FuYuan. Here we crossed the Fuchun river and traveled 5 km S to the village of DaYuanCheng – supposedly less than one km from 120E 30N.
Sure enough we weaved through town following GPS indications to within 0.5 km of the confluence. A straightforward 10 minute walk brought us to the king of confluences, located on a small uncultivated plot between cabbages (South) and bushes (E, S, W). (Photos) About 10 m away was a plinth commemoration a famous Three Kingdoms Empress (Sun Quan) who was brought up in this village (she was 7 at the time)
A peasant (photo) appeared and watched us trying to get all the 6 zeroes in E and N simultaneously (photo). He looked curious, so I asked him “Do you know where this is” He replied “if you are looking for 120N 30E it is over there by that tree”. This was an interesting development. After telling him that according to our equipment that this was the actual spot - we followed the peasant to a spot 70 m to the SSE of “our” 120N 30E. Here was a triangulation point-like stubby pillar (photo) set in the earth along with a couple of plaques nearby (photos) stating that this spot was indeed 120E 30N .
We speculate that either my GPS was wrong – or the original readings were taken with GPS, but before Bill Clinton limited the signal scrambling which reduced the effective accuracy to 100 m (my Garmin claims 5 m with clear skies)
We proceeded then to the nearby village of Longmen where Empress Sun Yuan spent much of her life. Longmen is one of 15 or so small villages in Zhejiang province that have retained a large number of traditional buildings. Our guide Ms Sun informed us that she was 55th generation Sun, that 91% of the 2500 households in Longmen are “Sun Households” and that “everyone is related”, Many homes have exquisite wood carvings on the interior. Longmen is well worth a visit. (Photos).