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China : Húběi Shěng

4.4 km (2.7 miles) SE of Suiyang, Húběi, China
Approx. altitude: 134 m (439 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 32°S 67°W

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: north #3: the spot we found #4: west #5: east #6: GPS #7: members #8: happy villagers #9: in the field

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  32°N 113°E (visit #1)  

#1: south

(visited by Li Xiuhua, Jian Lei and Hao Zengming)

English Narrative

22-Oct-2005 -- 一辆大巴把我们三个人(行者、老郝、闪电)扔到一个叫随阳店的小镇,然后绝尘而去。下车时我们测量了这个小镇的经纬度:32°01.999N, 112°58.678E 。老郝说这样的小镇在中国有一万多个,它们实在是太普通平凡了。

根据网站的猎点指引,32°N 113°E 在离随阳店东南方向绝约4.4公里的地方,在没去之前我们对那个地方一无所知,缺少感性认识。

我们在一家路边小餐馆简单地吃了一顿中午饭,尽管时间还有些早,但下午不能确定什么时间能找到那个点。两个从陕西省运送土豆到武汉的汽车司机刚刚从这家小餐馆走出来,睡眼惺忪。餐馆的老板娘一口浓烈的随州话,让我们意识到刚才在公路上走过一个大牌楼的时候我们已经来到另外一个市-随州市。作为口子镇的随阳店,以西是襄樊枣阳市管辖,以东属于随州市唐县镇管辖。老板娘的随州话很鲜明,也有些好玩。“天下汝(雨)了,我要坐火查(车)到八(北)京,"这是最为经典的随州方言,据说他们独特的方言是语言学上一个少有的支系。

吃过饭,我们沿316国道向石佛方向徒步前行。穿过一条铁路,看到一块G316的里程碑,上面是1331。沿途是鄂北农村的景色,农户的房屋沿公路两边而建,每家门前晒了一些刚采摘的棉桃。老郝和闪电边走边用GPS测量,我在后面随手拍了些照片。不经意间,石佛到了。从随阳到石佛的距离大慨有2.5公里。路边有一个民政部门立的村名标志牌,对面的加油站却写成石伏,取其谐音吧。

在石佛我们要改变方向向东南前进,问了一个老年妇女,离开国道,沿着一条乡村公路向南走。天无风无云,大地是秋收后的风景,棉花地里也有没有摘完的棉花还等待农民收获。池塘边有钓鱼的老者。乡村道路有连绵秋雨后的泥泞,上面布满汽车、拖拉机、摩托车、自行车的车辙。有手扶拖拉机和摩托车驶过,上面坐着兴高彩烈的人们。高中生杨峰从随州曾都中学放假下车后与我们同行了一段路。他的家就在前面。

沿乡村公路走了2公里多,根据GPS和指南针定位,我们要向东走。一个小小的村落出现我们眼前。房子的墙上写着非常中国的标语:一次不孕检惩款三百。

下午1:30,老郝和闪电的GPS都顺利的石佛村一组的一块收割后的稻田找到了32°N 113°E,但是有误差,他们在不断变化方位调整。以取得“零度”的突破。

秋阳温暖,田野一派安详恬静。有乡村的公鸡也许正午睡后醒来,开始打鸣,此起彼伏,声音飘荡于寂静的田野,分外嘹亮。一条叫塔水桥河的小河穿过收割后的水稻田,非常漂亮。在田埂上放牛的陈学奎老汉,今年64岁,家里种有两亩水田,老俩口一起生活,有一个孙子在广州打工。今年雨水过多,所以收成不好,但吃饭没有问题。还说,现在政策好,农民没有什么负担。问到石佛村的来历,他说:“在我们看到村牌的地方原来有石佛寺,供奉有菩萨,1959年推倒寺庙,菩萨扔到河里,现在是一点痕迹也看不到了。”

这时,闪电兴奋地让我去拍摄,通过多次调整,他终于找到了32°N 113°E的整数点。而老郝的GPS上显示有9颗卫星,但始终在千分之一秒的误差中漂移。这个点的东南西北都是高差不大的丘陵地形,在北方的远方,有隐约可见的低山,老郝说叫坛子山,是桐柏山的余脉。

我拍摄了这个点四个方向、石佛村一组的这个整数交汇点、GPS上的32°00.000N 113°00.000E和我们的合影留念的照片。走在返回的水田埂上,大地无言,天高云淡,我们心存感恩,惟有大地上有微风吹拂,按照中国农历的节令,明天就是霜降。

English Narrative

22-Oct-2005 -- After a bus took us three (me, Lao Hao, and Lightening) to a small town named Suiyangdian, it left us in dust. We measured this town's confluence: 32°01.999N, 112°58.678E. Lao Hao commented that there must be more than ten thousand towns like this in China. It was too ordinary.

According to the directions shown on the website, 32°N 113°E was supposed to be at around 4.4km southeast of Suiyangdian. We had absolutely no knowledge of this place before we got here, so we had had no perception what we would encounter.

We had a simple lunch at a small eatery alongside of the road. Although it was still early, we weren't quite sure when we could locate the confluence in the afternoon. Two truck drivers with sleepy eyes emerged from the eatery. They were transporting potatoes from Shanxi Province to Wuhan. The restaurateur's wife spoke to us with a strong accent of Suizhou dialect, which made us realize that when we passed that big city archway on the road just moment ago, we already entered another city--Suizhou. Suiyangdian was just the entry way to it. The west of Suizhou belonged to Zaoyang City, Xiangfan, and the east Tangxian County, Suizhou. The restaurateur's wife's Suizhou dialect was very lively and somewhat funny as well. She said, " It's gonna run (rain). I wanna take a true (train) to Bajing (Beijing)." It was a typical dialect in Suizhou. It was said the unique dialect belonged to a rare linguistic branch.

After lunch, we walked on National Highway 316 toward Shifo. After crossed a railway, we saw a milestone of Highway 316, on which number 1331 was written. We found ourselves in the countryside of northern Hubei Province. Villager's houses were built alongside of the highway. In front of every house, just picked cotton bolls were laying there to be dried. Lao Hao and Lightening were measuring with GPS while walking. I took some pictures behind them. Before we knew, we already reached Shifo. It was 2.5km from Suiyang to Shifo. On the side of the highway, there was the village's name plate placed by the local government. However, the gas station on the opposite of the road had a name "Shifu" on it. Probably they just mistakenly put on a "sound-alike" name plate there.

We needed to change our direction in Shifo to Southeast. After consulted with an elderly woman, we left the National Highway, and went south on a country road. It was a cloudless, windless day. The harvest season was at its peak. There were remaining cotton bolls in the field waiting to be picked. An old guy was fishing by a pond. The country road was muddy after days of autumn rain. It was covered with tire prints of cars, tractors, motorcycles, and bicycles. A tractor and a motorcycle passed us by with some joyous people sitting on them. One of these people, Feng Yang, a high school student from Zengdu High in Suizhou, came down from one of the vehicles and walked with us. His house was very close by.

After strolling for more than two kilometers on the country road, we check the GPS and compass, and decided to go towards east. A tiny village appeared in front of us. We saw a slogan was pained on the wall of a house with a distinctive Chinese flair: Skip one prenatal checkup, three-hundred-Yuan is the fine.

At 1:30 p.m., both Lao Hao and Lightening' GPS's have successfully located 32°N 113°E. It was at an after-harvest rice field in Shifo Village. They were constantly adjust their position to avoid deviations and find the exact location

The serene and tranquil field was basting in the warm autumn sun. The roosters in the village were crowing as if they had just waken up from their afternoon naps. From near and afar, the sound resonated in the field, amplified by the quietness of the surroundings. A stream dubbed Tashui Bridge River ran through the after-harvest rice field. It was a very pretty scenery. A 64-year-old villager, Xuikui Chen, was herding his cows on the field's ridge. He told us that he lived with his wife and together they took care of their two-Chinese-acre paddy fields. One of their grandsons was working in Guangzhou. Because of excessive rain this year, they had had a poor harvest season. However, it was not a problem to make a living. He added that nowadays the villagers did not have too heavy a burden due to good governmental policies. When we asked him about the history of Shifo Village. He answered, "There used to be a Stone Buddha (Shifo) Temple at the location where the village's name plate is now. Budhisattva was worshipped. In 1959, the temple got destroyed and the statue of Budhisattva was thrown into the river. Today, you cannot see a single trace of the temple."

Just then, Lightening asked me excitedly to take a picture. After numerous fine tuning, he finally located the exact confluence of 32°N 113°E. Lao Hao's GPS showed nine stars with an error of one thousandth of a second. There were slightly undulating hills around the location. Faraway in the north, a low mountain could be seen indistinctly. Lao Hao said that was called Jar Mountain, a part of Tongbo Mountain.

I photographed the four directions' views from this confluence, Shifo Village, the GPS showing of 32°00.000N 113°00.000E, and our group picture. When we were walking on the field's ridge on our way back, with a few feathery clouds above us, the silence fell on the ground again. Feeling the softness of the wind, we felt very blessed. According to Chinese lunar calendar's solar terms, the next day was Frost's Descent Day.

(Translation by Weilan P.)


 All pictures
#1: south
#2: north
#3: the spot we found
#4: west
#5: east
#6: GPS
#7: members
#8: happy villagers
#9: in the field
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)