30-Mar-2002 -- This story continues from 22°N 112°E.
SATURDAY 30 MARCH 2002. I awoke to my alarm at 6 a.m., following a good 10-hour sleep. I showered, repacked my bag (my wet clothes from the previous day were now almost dry), checked out of the hotel, and crossed the street to the Yangjiang bus station just in time to catch the 7 a.m. bus to Guangzhou.
I arrived in Guangzhou at 10:30 a.m., then five minutes later was on another bus to Qingyuan. This was an hour-and-a-quarter journey, followed by a local commuter bus ride across town, from the "new" Qingyuan bus station to the "old" Qingyuan bus station. At the old bus station, I was able to get a bus to Shahe, which departed at 12:25 p.m., and arrived at its destination at 1:40 p.m. Another ten minutes on the back of a motorcycle, and I was in Xinzhou, seven kilometres west of the confluence. I stopped in Xinzhou for lunch, and a well-needed rest after almost seven hours of non-stop travel.
I left my backpack at the restaurant where I had lunch, and at 2:20 p.m. set off once more on the back of another motorcycle. We followed a rough, unsealed road into the hills. When we were about two kilometres north of the confluence, there was a turn off that wasn't marked on my map, but which seemed to head in the right direction, so I decided we should check it out. It led us almost right to the confluence.
We parked the bike 110 metres away, then made our way on foot up a small valley (picture #2). We first followed a path along the hillside on the left, feasting on delicious wild raspberries that we picked along the way (picture #3). Eventually it became apparent that the confluence was right at the bottom of the valley, so we had to scramble down the hillside to reach it.
There was a small path on the valley floor that doubled as a stream, and even sported a tiny waterfall just a couple of metres north of the confluence (picture #1). A little bit of to-ing and fro-ing was required before a perfect reading could be obtained on the GPS (picture #4). Elevation: 269 metres. It was lucky that the confluence was smack bang in the middle of the valley; the slopes on either side would not have been easy to climb (picture #5).
We followed the path/stream back out to the road where we'd left the bike. My motorcyclist then took me back to Xinzhou, first making a small detour to show off his home and his daughter (picture #6). This slight delay of just a few minutes was the first in a series of what proved to be significant, time-critical events, which I shall describe in detail in the continuation to this story at 25°N 113°E (visit #2).