14-Jul-2008 -- Story continues from 37°N 117°E.
We enjoy our second excellent complimentary breakfast at Jǐnán's Sunshine Business Hotel (阳光商务大酒店), then walk the short distance to the bus station, where we catch a bus south to Tài'ān City (泰安市). As our bus is approaching Tài'ān, we pass the turnoff to Tàishān (泰山), Shāndōng's highest peak at 1,545 m, and the most important of China's "Five Famous Mountains". Unfortunately, it's impossible to see the mountain due to the abysmal air pollution on this hot, dry, dusty, and windy day.
The bus drops us off in front of Tài'ān's railway station, where we find the bus SW to Mǎzhuāng Town (马庄镇). Despite being somewhat off the beaten track, most of the journey to Mǎzhuāng is along excellent highways. Mǎzhuāng turns out to be a sleepy, quiet, clean, and apparently quite affluent, town. The bus terminates 1.4 km SW of the confluence.
We enjoy a pleasant stroll north along a very wide road, passing by an old lady busy stripping off strands of hemp fibre. Ah Feng recalls how her own grandmother used to do the same thing. Before long, we reach the corner where we must turn right (east). It is less than 500 m to the confluence from here.
The confluence is located 137 m south of the road, and it's necessary to walk through several cornfields, containing plants at varying stages of maturity. Once at the point, we take the GPS and north-south-east-west photos, then return to the road to look for Ms Wang, whom Ray Yip and co. met when here in September 2004, almost four years ago. We find a younger Mr Wang and his wife, who are the current owners of the confluence cornfield, and leave them with a copy of the previous visit report to mull over. By the time we leave, a few more locals have turned up to see what all the excitement is about.
Story continues at 35°N 117°E.