17-Aug-2005 -- Story continues from 32°N 112°E.
Tue 16 Aug 2005 (Day 19, cont'd), 1 p.m. - We catch a bus from the township of Nizui east back to the prefecture capital Xiangfan. After getting off at Xiangfan's People's Square, we get lost trying to find the no. 1 bus back to our hotel, so end up taking a pedal-powered three-wheeler instead.
2:05 p.m. - Back at the hotel, we collect our bags that we'd left at reception, then go next door to the bus station where we find a bus destined for Shiyan, capital of the adjoining prefecture to the NW, preparing to depart at 2:30 p.m. With no time to spare, we get straight on board and manage to find two empty seats, then change out of our boots into more comfortable sandals, and generally reorganise our luggage, all in the tight confines of the cramped bus.
The bus travels along a brand new freeway for part of the journey, making for a very comfortable ride. En route we discover that, after Shiyan, this bus will continue on to the capital of Yun County, a short distance north of Shiyan. As this is actually where we need to go, we pay the extra fare, and enjoy the convenience of not having to change buses in Shiyan.
The river that runs alongside the road from Shiyan to Yun County is in flood. It has obviously rained a lot in this area recently.
7 p.m. - After looking for a hotel near Yun County's north bus station without any success, we end up checking into the Yunyang Hotel near the centre of town, supposedly the best on offer, at least according to the driver of the three-wheeler who brought us here. We wash some clothes, go out for dinner, and pay a visit to an Internet bar before retiring for the night.
Wed 17 Aug 2005 (Day 20), 6:15 a.m. - As per normal practice, we check out of our hotel but leave our big bags with reception to collect later. As well as our bags, we also leave some still wet laundry with them, and they agree to help us hang it up to dry.
A ride in a three-wheeler gets us to the north bus station, where we find a minivan destined for Huangshi, a township to the NE, not far from the confluence. What was light rain when we left the hotel turns to heavy rain as we sit in the minivan awaiting departure.
6:45 a.m. - The minivan departs. The rain eases off over the course of the hour-long journey.
7:45 a.m. - We get off the bus before it reaches Huangshi, at a switchback from where the confluence is only 170 metres SW. The road offers a nice view down a valley to the NNW, its beauty accentuated by the clouds hanging over the mountains opposite.
The confluence is located on a hillside, amongst disused terraced fields. We need to make our way downwards over a number of disintegrating terrace walls and through overgrown fields in order to reach it. It's not completely straightforward, but eventually we get all the zeroes, and take the mandatory north-south-east-west shots from the point, as well as zooming in for a closer view of the village down the valley to the north.
Story continues at 33°N 110°E.