06-Aug-2005 -- Story continues from 32°N 117°E.
Fri 5 Aug 2005 (Day 8, cont'd), 4:55 p.m. - Back at my hotel in central Hefei, I shower and change into some clean clothes, then go out to buy the bus tickets for tomorrow's journey to Tongling. After that, I visit the Internet bar, then the hairdresser for a facial plus hair-wash and blow-dry. A final bowl of Lanzhou lamian, then it's time to take a taxi to the airport to meet Ah Feng. She is arriving from her hometown in Guangxi, where she has just been celebrating her grandmother's 86th birthday.
Sat 6 Aug 2005 (Day 9), 5 a.m. - We awake to the alarm. My cold, which developed yesterday, is still niggling me. Ah Feng gives me some Chinese stuff to dissolve in hot water and drink, which is supposed to help.
6:20 a.m. - Our bus to Tongling departs. We head south out of Hefei, this time with all our luggage as we shall not be returning to Hefei again on this confluence trip. There is persistent light drizzle the whole way. We cross the mighty Yangtze River on the final approach to Tongling.
9:40 a.m. - We arrive in the prefecture capital of Tongling. Our next objective, Liutan Township, is actually in neighbouring Tongling County, and the staff in the bus station tell us we must go to the Tongling County Bus Station in order to get a bus to Liutan. The Tongling County Bus Station is not far, and after waiting fruitlessly in the rain for some minutes for a commuter bus, we decide to take a taxi instead.
When our taxi driver learns of our ultimate destination, Liutan, he offers to take us directly there, rather than to the bus station. It is a little over 20 kilometres, and we negotiate a reasonable fare.
We travel east along the main highway, then turn north on a secondary road towards Liutan. I keep one eye on the GPS and the other on the road, searching for the turnoff on our right that Ray so accurately described in his previous visit report. At last I spot what looks to be the correct turnoff, with the confluence 1.5 kilometres NNE.
10:40 a.m. - Our taxi driver can be persuaded to drive only a short distance up this dirt road before baulking. We are compelled to get out with the confluence still 1.06 kilometres north, however we are reasonably confident we are on the right road. We leave our big bags in the care of a friendly local at a nearby house, then continue on foot.
Sure enough, the road leads us to the confluence, although we need to contend with much mud and a few other obstacles along the way. The confluence point is in a very exposed location, and we are buffeted by the wind and rain. We take the north-south-east-west photos while trying not to get blown over (see photo facing south). The dike separates a pretty lotus pond on the eastern side from a lake filled with a large type of duckweed on the west.
12:25 p.m. - After washing the mud off our feet and shoes, we collect our bags and walk back to the secondary road, arriving just as a bus is approaching--excellent timing!
Story continues at 31°N 119°E.