12-Aug-2006 -- We met at a weekly gathering of the online forum www.otofun.com where we are members of. And just after a few words, we agreed that we would spend the next day to hunt the confluence point of 21N 105E.
We started from Hanoi at 9.00AM in a Ford Everest driving toward Hoa Binh town where locates the South-East Asia’s biggest hydro-electric power station. It took us one and a half hours to get there in Hoa Binh. We then left the national road No. 6 entering the small road numbered 433 going deeper to the mountain area of the province. The road has a rather good surface but small and zigzag with a lot of sharp bends, so we could not drive fast. Then it took us another two more hours for about 60km to reach the area near by the target.
From about 5km to the confluence, the asphalt road is ended and we continued at a very low speed with a trail. Except Nakio, who concentrated to driving, the left four of us starred to an ancient Garmin Geko 101 and two PocketPC’s Bluetooth connected with a GlobalSat BT-338 and a Path-Pal CGB-100. The trail skirts the side of a mountain on the right, and we know the confluence point is somewhere behind that mountain. So we decided that we should keep on driving along the trail to find a break point. Very luckily, when the GPS show the distance to the confluent point of just more than 400m, we saw a stream across the trail. So we, as expected, just left the car and waded along the stream toward the direction of the confluence.
There is a small hamlet with around 10 small houses scattered. It was the noon time of a hot summer day, and when passed a curve, we suddenly saw an unexpected scene. A group of women, young girls are having nude bath on the stream. Surprisingly, they did not try to hide themselves or at least try to cover the secret parts of their bodies from our stranger’s eyes. So they just there continuing bathing and saying hello to us, asking us some normal questions. Very timidly, Eskimot09 raised his camera and shot to no where. No reaction from the women… Then one more shot with a clearer intension… And when the people even shown their interest of being photographed, four cameramen just could not wait any longer…
Saying goodbye the bathing people, we continued with the stream for about 100 meters further before starting climbing up hill. It was not as hard as the way to the 22N 106E we hunted in January 2006, but clearing the way to climb up took away from us a lot of sweat still. Nevertheless, we located the point before everyone feels too tired. The clock showed 2.30 in the afternoon. It was the time for congratulating each other on the achievement.
As usual, the way back was much easier. We found a small path leading to another branch of the stream. When reaching the bathing point, we had some break and got a chance to converse with a young mother who was bathing for her son of one and a half year old, to know more about the region and about the people living there. We think that also a good reason to travel to such remote area.
We are not the first group to conquer the confluence, but is it important? From our side, the answer is "No"! For us, the important thing is that we were there by ourselves. For us, the important thing is that we had made one more step on our route of hunting confluence points! Hope you share our opinion!