30-Jul-2003 -- Continued from 29°N 117°E.
Wednesday 30 July 2003 – I woke at 6:30 a.m. to the sounds of "Jingle Bells" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" bellowing forth from Dexing's new street sweeper, a water tanker that cruises up and down the city streets spraying great jets of water. The music is supposed to act as a warning for anyone in the line of fire. Heaven only knows who chooses the songs; they didn't seem terribly appropriate for another 40°C plus day in July. The power was already out.
I arrived at the new Dexing bus station at 7:30 a.m., in tons of time for the first bus to Sanqingshan at 8:40 a.m., and used the intervening period to gather further intelligence on the bus timetables. Later on I'd need a bus from Dexing to the county capital of Shangrao, and I ascertained that the last one for the day would leave at 4:30 p.m.
At 8:50 a.m. we were finally on our way. The confluence was still another 41.6 kilometres east of Dexing. An hour into the journey, we came to an abrupt halt when the fanbelt broke. The driver borrowed my small pocket knife to help effect repairs, while a few of the passengers milled about outside the bus trying to keep cool. The driver had us back underway before too long.
At 10:50 a.m. I got off the bus at a town called Nanshan, with the confluence 5.36 kilometres to the south-southwest, and set off on foot. This area is within a stone's throw of the border between Jiangxi Province and Zhejiang Province, and the locals speak a form of Zhejiangnese, which I found to be semi-intelligible because of its similarity to Shanghainese. Years ago I lived in Shanghai for three years.
After walking about two kilometres, I was fortunate enough to be offered a lift by a passing motorcyclist. He took me a further four kilometres, and dropped me off at 11:30 a.m. at the point where the road came closest to the confluence, now one kilometre to the west.
From here, getting to the confluence was quite easy. In fact it was the easiest confluence I'd done so far on this trip. I simply followed a side road leading up into the hills. The confluence was located on a hillside, just where the road cut across it.
At 12 noon I was at the point, and took the customary north, south, east and west facing photos. I also took one looking east-northeast back down the valley I'd just come up, with the farmhouse from where I'd taken the earlier photo of the hillside just visible in the centre of the photo, the main road clearly visible in the distance, and the side road leading to the confluence on the right. I recorded an elevation of 221 metres, and the GPS was providing 8-metre accuracy.
At 12:30 p.m. I was back at the main road, where I managed to get a lift in a Chinese-style jeep. The road was a dirt road, undergoing repairs (which always makes the road even worse for the duration), and I was sitting in the back getting bounced all over the place. It was hilarious trying to take off my hiking boots and put on my sandals, but I succeeded in the end.
At 1:35 p.m. the jeep dropped me off at a place called Jiudu, a major intersection on the way back to Dexing. I just had time to use the restroom at the corner petrol station before an air-conditioned Dexing-bound bus came by and I was on my way again. I got into Dexing at 2:35 p.m., and was off again at 2:50 p.m. on the next bus to Shangrao.
I got to Shangrao at 5:25 p.m. From Shangrao, I still needed to travel south to Wuyishan, but the Wuyishan buses did not depart from the bus station I arrived at, so I had to take a no. 11 commuter bus across town to another station. At this other station, they told me to walk to the T-junction about 500 metres up the road. I got there just as the 6 p.m. bus to Wuyishan pulled away!
I waited for about 25 minutes in the hopes of there being another, but finally two guys came up to me who said they worked for the Wuyishan bus company, and they assured me that there were no more buses that day, but to come back at 6:30 a.m. the next morning for the first bus. A little disappointed, I took a commuter bus to the train station to check on possibilities there, but the next train to Wuyishan did not depart until 1 a.m.
It was now 6:50 p.m., and I decided to check into the Sanqing Hotel opposite the train station. I had dinner in the hotel dining room, then went out for an excellent shampoo and blow-dry in Shangrao's best hairdressing establishment (as recommended to me by the staff in the hotel dining room), and rounded the evening off with a session in an Internet bar.
Back in my hotel room, the ladies' sanitary bag that is customarily left atop the toilet cistern caught my eye. This one bore the English label: "Immaculate bag of woman"!
Story continues at 28°N 118°E.