08-Aug-2003 -- Continued from 26°N 116°E.
Friday 8 August 2003 – After waking early without the aid of my alarm, I was ready to check out of the Pearl Hotel at 5:45 a.m. I took a commuter bus from Ganzhou to nearby Ganxian, then at 6:20 a.m. a bus from Ganxian to Maodian. In Maodian I engaged a motorcyclist to take me on a 10-kilometre, 35-minute trip up a rocky dirt road to Yangdong, from where the confluence was just 2.4 kilometres northwest.
The countryside was ever so tranquil and pleasant, as I walked through valleys of terraced rice paddies and along hilltops covered in ferns. Every now and then I was faced with a fork in the path and had to choose which way to go. I managed to pick the correct path each time until I got to a point 320 metres from the confluence, then took a wrong turn. This forced me to scramble first down one steep hillside, then up another, then finally down the other side of that one, before finally reaching the confluence at 8:50 a.m., a little more exhausted than I should have been.
The confluence was in a grove of mature tea trees, at an elevation of 371 metres. The GPS was showing an accuracy of 11 metres. I took the regulation photos, facing north, south, east and west, plus a close-up of the tea tree. Finally, I employed the self-timer to take a shot of myself relaxing under the shade of the closest tea tree to the confluence.
I'd walked a total distance of four kilometres from Yangdong. As I was about to head back, I heard voices coming from a nearby rice paddy, and went over to find a mother and daughter there. At first they were a bit dumbstruck, but eventually I managed to elicit a response from the mother after repeatedly asking which was the correct way to go to get back to Yangdong. She steered me up the tea tree grove, and sure enough, I soon found my way back along easy paths to the point where I'd earlier made the wrong turn.
I got back to Yangdong at 10:30 a.m. The first sign of life I passed was a small shop selling everything from fake money to not-so-miniature houses, all designed to be burnt as offerings to the dead, the idea being that burning the stuff somehow transports it over to the other side, where the dearly departed can then use it to buy things, live in, etc. Apparently there must be shops on the other side that accept fake money. Now that really would be heaven!
Story continues at 25°N 115°E.