On my last visit to a confluence point (35N 119E) I made use of an ultra-modern Chinese toll expressway to quickly get me to within striking distance of my target. This time I decided to stay off the expressways and use the provincial road system, saving the toll fee and getting a little closer to the countryside.
When I left my apartment in downtown Rizhao (日照 Rìzhào) I wasn't expecting to see too much of interest at this Confluence Point after reading the previous visitors’ write up. However I did come across a surprise and this serendipitous find portends future adventures.
Anyway, I drove out of Rizhao going west on Highway S335 for 40 minutes until I could turn north onto Highway S222. I passed through Wulian County (五莲县 Wǔlián Xiàn), amazed to see along both sides of the roads for dozens of kilometres countless enterprises that were cutting and storing slabs of stone and large carvings. Somewhere in the locale there must be an impressive quarry but I did not see it from my limited perspective of the driver’s seat.
After about 2 hours of uneventful driving on good roads I spotted a direction sign to Mazhan (马站镇) and turned west onto Highway S329. Twenty minutes later I was in Mengtuan (孟疃镇) looking for a side road to the confluence point which was 2.75 km away to the south-west.
At 36º 00.859’N - 119º 01.497’E I turned south off the highway onto a concrete country road. This was the correct way to go but I missed the turn to the west at 36º 00.494’N - 119º 01.377’E. When I realized I was too far south of the CP I turned around and returned to S329, turned west and then turned south again at 36º 01.292’N - 119º 00.671’E onto an extremely bad concrete road. This road made me think of a frozen northern river at spring breakup. No slab was more than a few square metres in size and they were laying topsy turvy on what was obviously a very poor road base. Driving gingerly I ‘skipped from floe to floe’ for about 5 km until I could turn east again at 35º 59.999’N - 118º 58.494E on a smoother, albeit narrower, concrete road. Immediately squeezing between two concrete barriers only centimetres wider than my Chinese made Hover CUV I then drove for about 15 minutes until I could park at the side of the road 360 metres due north of the confluence point and just past a village to the road’s south side. After taking a somewhat circuitous route I had arrived close to my destination.
I walked southwards along a dirt track through the fields of corn and what I assume were peanut plants, past a nonplussed goat herder and her charges to reach the confluence point in just 10 minutes. After taking the obligatory east, south, west and north shots I returned to my car determined to see if I could find the archaeological feature that my local paper map indicated was in the area.
Sure enough, after only a few minutes of backtracking on the road I spotted a stone marker on the north side of the road at 36º 00.112’N - 118º 59.412E, 900 m to the west of the Confluence Point. Behind the marker and stretching northward as a definite ridge in the fields was clearly the long plundered and weathered away Great Wall of Qi ( 齐长城 Qí Chángchéng).
The oldest existing great wall in China its construction was started in 685 BC by the State of Qi (齐 Qí) to defend against incursions from its neighbours. Stretching about 600 km from the current Shandong (山东 Shāndōng) provincial capital of Jinan (济南 Jǐnán) eastwards to the current seaport of Qingdao (青岛 Qīngdǎo) on the Yellow Sea (黄海 Huáng Hǎi) it became superfluous in 221 BC when the State of Qin (秦 Qín) defeated the other Warring States. Marking the end of pre-Imperial China, the Qin leader Shihuang (始皇 Shǐhuáng), now known as the First Emperor of China, immediately started construction of the Great Wall of China (长城 Chángchéng) north of Beijing (北京 Běijīng) to protect his new founded empire as well as a massive mausoleum at Xi’an (西安 Xī'ān) guarded by the incredible Terracotta Army (兵马俑 Bīngmǎ yǒng) to protect his earthly remains.
I felt fortunate to know about the true location and condition of the wall when at a later date I was visiting Jiu Xianshan (九仙山) Scenic Park north of Rizhao. There, strung along the ridge at the park entrance, conveniently located to welcome the tourists, was a relatively freshly constructed and poor copy of the ancient wall – but I knew better.
My next Confluence Point target is 36N 120E and I am pleased to see on my paper map that the local great wall runs very close by there as well.
Noel... as I write this you are traveling in Cambodia, a little closer to me than your Malaysian location when I was on my previous CP hunt. All of China beckons as does all of the rest of our lives. Join me and let’s scale the walls together. xoxox PBGG