06-Apr-2002 -- This story continues from 28°N 112°E.
SATURDAY 6 APRIL 2002. Before completing this trip, I thought I'd try putting another new province on the map, so to speak. I'd never been to Jiangxi before, and this confluence was reasonably close to my base in Changsha. So after a good, 11-hour sleep, I got up at 7 a.m., and at 8 a.m. took a taxi to the Changsha east bus station.
My bus to Shangli in Jiangxi province was due to leave at 9:10 a.m., but it was 9:25 a.m. before it finally left the bus station. I arrived at Shangli at 11:15 a.m., about 25 kilometres SW of the confluence. From here, I caught a bus to Tongmu, an arduous, hour-long journey over 20 kilometres of extremely rough dirt road.
In Tongmu, I had to wait another half an hour before getting a bus heading towards Cihua, which would pass very near to the confluence. At 1:30 p.m., I got off the bus just 700 metres north of the confluence. Unfortunately, although much of the surrounding area was flat, the confluence was not on flat ground.
I could see a temple seemingly precariously perched high up on the side of the hill above me, and eventually I found a path leading up to it (picture #2). The temple offered wonderful views of the land below (picture #3 and picture #4).
From the temple, I continued along a small, sometimes practically nonexistent trail that led along the hill crests in the general direction of the confluence. The vegetation was very thick, and included many thorn bushes, the thorns of which were angled backwards in order to cause maximum inconvenience. I had to stop repeatedly to disentangle myself (picture #5).
The trail got me to within 50 metres of the confluence. I valiantly fought my way through the bushes and the thorns in an attempt to get right to it, but despite several approaches from several different angles, 26 metres away was the closest I could get (picture #6). Elevation: 340 metres. Hidden amongst the dense vegetation at this point were some impressively large, and very beautiful, purple flowers (picture #7).
It was now already 3 p.m., and I felt I ought to be starting the long journey back to Changsha. But before leaving, I climbed onto a large rock 50 metres north of the confluence to take some photos of the general area (picture #1 and picture #8). I also stopped at the temple on the way back, where the custodian served me some very welcome tea (picture #9).
So, that was it then, my most productive confluence-hunting expedition to date, knocking off 10 confluences in three provinces (picture #10). Guangdong province is now complete, and both Hunan and Jiangxi have been inaugurated with their first visits. And, for the time being at least, China once again leapfrogs Saudi Arabia in the confluence stakes.