23-Jan-2006 -- 34 N – 116 E Henan (河南), China
Line Hunting Date: January 23, 2006
As part of our trip to Lixin (利辛) county in Anhui (安徽), we made a detour and hunted 33N 118E the day before. A member of the hunting party, Li Wei caught the confluence bug and keen to go for another hunt.
It so happened that we have an unexpected free afternoon after we spend the morning working in a township health center outside of Lixin County. The same party for a point which is about 100 km north of Lixin County.
This particular confluence point actually located in Henan just a few kilometers from Anhui, about 20 km from the Boa Zhou (亳州), the most northern city of Anhui, and the prefecture capital which Lixin is part of also. It is city famous for the largest trading market of traditional Chinese medicine herbs.
We were told by Boa Zhou officials who were visiting Lixin that under normal condition, the drive from Lixin to Boa Zhou is little over an hour using a combination of expressway and well-paved national highway. But, this was not a normal time – 5 days before the Lunar New Year or the Spring festival.
Lunar New Year or the Spring festival is the most important holiday period in China. Over half the young adults in northern Anhui are migrant workers in other provinces, and this is the time for them to return home to reunite with the family. As a result, far more people on the highway than normal time. Additionally, the local folks were busy preparing for the festival so there were special pre-holiday markets alone the roadsides to sell festival goods. All these factors made the normally one hour drive a two and half hours venture. In several occasions we were trapped in the mass markets which have overtaken the main highway.
By the time we entered Henan, and within striking distance from the confluence point, it was near 5 pm, and we had only half hour of day light left.
Fortunately, this is a fairly densely populated area with villages about half kilometer apart, hence plenty of roadways. After a few turns we found a paved road took us within 450 meters from the confluence point. Like the hunt the day before, the unpaved road leading toward the confluence point was very muddy, not suitable for any vehicle except tractors.
We pick our way carefully alone the muddy path, and reached the 100 meter range of the confluence point by 5.15 pm. This confluence point located in the middle of a village called Zhang Ji (张集). More precisely, the zero point located in the middle of a duck pond. At southern edge of the pond, the all zero point was about 30 meters away, and about 20 meters away from the northern edge of the pond.
We were happy that we reached the confluence point before dark. By the time we figured out the closest location to the all zeros point was, there were few dozen of villagers gathered to watch the funny city folks. We did find the gentleman whose house is nearest to the confluence point (~ 50 meters) for a photo.
The return drive to Lixin, even though in the dark, actually was much faster because all the pre Spring festival markets along the roadside were all shut down so there were no obstructions. It took us a little over an hour and half to get back.
Even though the drive toward the confluence was slowed by all the commotions related to the upcoming Spring Festival, the crowd and markets actually was the most interesting aspect of this hunting trip. In the big cities, such as Beijing, we do not feel the pre-holiday change related to mass influx of people and everybody rushing to get all things taken care of before the New Year day.
This confluence village located about 3.5 km form the Long Gong township which is part of the Yun Cheng (永城) City of Henan. The confluence point was about 6 km from the Anhui and Henan border.
Li Wei who is from Hefei (合肥), the capital of Anhui, now jokes that we have stolen one of the confluence point from Henan.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 2– the very muddy trail made it a bit messy (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 3– A classic rural Henan village (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 2– typical rural central China (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)