31-Jan-2004 -- 39 N – 117 E Tianjin, China
Visit Date: January 31, 2004
Completed visit by the Yip-Bannicq Group (Sierra Yip-Bannicq, Florence Bannicq, and Ray Yip) and Sierra’s good friend Anny Ericsson-Bernholtz.
This is our 3rd line hunting trip during the Chinese lunar New Year (Spring Festival) holiday period which lasts 15 days, all on 39 N (115E and 116E the previous week). We had an ambitious plan for the day, visit 2 other interesting sites near Tianjing in addition to the only confluence point located in the Tianjing municipality – the Yang Liu Qing town ship, and the Tianjin harbor located in Tanggu. Tianjing, with a population of over 10 million, is the 4th largest city of China and it has 10 rural counties surrounding the metropolitan area.
The drive from Beijing to Tianjing city limit took just a little over an hour, and we drop by the Yang Liu Qing Township first (9 km from the confluence point). This place is famous for their production of special paintings for the Chinese New year, which symbolize prosperity or good fortune (photo 9 is an example). Because we are still within the lunar New Year period, this is a place still in the festival mode, with many visitors also here to see the special painting production.
The drive toward the nearby confluence point from this famous little town turned out to be rather complicated. At first, we were able to get as close as one kilometer from the point, but we happened to be on the wrong side of the Tianjin to Shanghai Expressway. By the time we crossed over to the “right” side of the expressway, we were about 3 kilometers south from the point. In the whole area where the Tianjin confluence point is located are hundreds of hatcheries or large holding ponds for fish. We had to drive on the narrow dirt road on the banks of the fishponds to go toward the point. We had to turn around several times because we were stopped by a creek or the bank had collapsed. Eventually, we had to make a big circle to come within half kilometer of the point and go on foot to cross another creek. The approach of the last 2 kilometers took over an hour. Our complicated approach to this point was an opposite experience of the easy drive from the expressway made by Keith and Jeannette Ketterer for the first visit.
The Tianjin confluence point, as discovered by the first team of visitors, was located almost in the middle of a large fishpond (a square pond about 200 meters each side). The main difference now was that everything was frozen, and the point was an easy one-minute walk from the bank. Sierra and Anny took the lead to the point, which is about 80 meters from the nearest bank (the Ketterners were close). The ice was so smooth it would have been perfect for skating.
There are some small houses alone the banks of the hatching ponds to guard the fish stock when it is operational. We only ran into 2 people during our one hour-long attempt to approach the confluence point. Two types of fish are stocked during the warmer season – carp and lien yu (Yu means fish in Chinese), and they are sold as juveniles at a size of 5-6 cm to stock fish ponds in other areas. We managed to find the easy way described by the previous visitors on the way out. The hatchery area is part of the Si Xiao Cun (Four Small Villages) area, but the other villages were nowhere in sight. Administratively the village is part of the Lian Wang Zhong Township, within the Jin Hai County of Tianjin municipality.
The drive to Tianjin Port took about one hour. This major harbor for northern China appears to be changing rapidly, all the buildings along the main street are ultra modern, with fewer older buildings left standing.
Lastly, we met up with old family friends, Mr. and Mrs. Yu inside Tianjing for a nice dinner and headed home in the dark. The complex road system of Tianjin city is like a maze, even with Mr. Yu’s navigation, we still managed to get lost once.
All in all, this was a very full day for our expedition to Tianjin, by far the line hunting was the highlight of the day. One of the few advantages about cold and freezing winter weather is, that it makes a confluence point inaccessible during summer, now highly accessible.