31-Jul-2005 -- Story continues from 33°N 115°E.
Sun 31 Jul 2005 (Day 3, cont'd), 10:50 a.m. - We catch a bus NE from Jiangzhai back to the county capital Linquan, arriving at 12 noon, then immediately transfer to a bus east to Fuyang, the prefecture capital, arriving at the Fuyang East Bus Station at 1:50 p.m. The confluence is 18 kilometres NE.
2:10 p.m. - Twenty minutes later we are on another bus, heading NE towards Chahua Township. I originally intended getting off at Chahua (confluence 4.9 kilometres ESE), but am persuaded by the driver and ticket seller to instead remain on board until we get to Xinjian, from where the confluence is only 3.45 kilometres SSW.
Just like the confluence before, Xiao Xu has befriended another young female bus passenger, this one named Dong Lili. She gets off together with us, and helps us organise a three-wheeler to take us to the confluence. Unfortunately, said three-wheeler breaks down when we are still 1.75 kilometres short of our objective, leaving us no alternative but to walk the rest of the way.
It's a pleasant walk in the countryside, although it would be more enjoyable without the burden of our large backpacks. There are many bright red dragonflies about. Following roads running north-south and east-west, after several 90° turns we eventually arrive at a pond and a collection of residences known as Laozhai Ziran Tun, part of Xuwafang Village. A few of the locals are enjoying a card game by the pond. Xiao Xu writes the name of the village in my notebook.
We leave our bags in the care of the locals, then hop over a low fence and head to the confluence, which is just 60 metres south, in a field of corn and soy beans. I take the customary north-south-east-west shots, then Jim takes a group shot of the remaining three of us standing on the point.
Returning to collect our bags, I give the locals a copy of Ray's visit report that I've brought with me. Some of the children recognise the children in Ray's photo, and for a short time pandemonium breaks out as they squabble to get their hands on the report.
On that note, we bid our farewells, and walk the couple of hundred metres east back to the main part of Xuwafang Village, where Xiao Xu rustles up a small truck to take us back to Chahua. We have to sit in the back on tiny wooden stools, and the truck doesn't seem to have any shock absorbers, so our bums get a pummelling every time we go over the slightest bump, and there are a lot of bumps. Despite the discomfort, it still beats walking.
Story continues at 34°N 117°E.