22-Sep-2004 -- 36 N – 117 E Shangdong, China
Visit Date: September 22, 2004
This is our second line-hunting in the Shandong Province. Ms. Liu, our host for the visit, became an initiated line hunter.
We arrived at He Zhe city by train on the morning of the 22nd. He Zhe is located in the Southeastern corner of Shandong. After our work was done by early afternoon, we headed toward the capital city – Jinan – a 350 km drive in order to make a dinner appointment by 7 pm.
The entire drive to Jinan is on the expressway , and according to the map, we were coming within a few kilometers from the 36N-117E point. The issue was how much time the detour for line hunting would take.
We found an off ramp from the expressway which put us about 12 km from the point. For the last 7 km we followed a side road which pretty much led us straight to the confluence point. The last stretch was a 230 meters walk. A very straight forward hunt.
The most interesting aspect of this hunt was the fact that, the side road leading to the point cut through recently harvested corn fields, and local farmers were busy burning the corn stalk and leaves. The widespread burning made the whole area smoky and hazy, and the fields became black, it was a bit like a battlefield.
The confluence point was also located in the middle of a recently burnt corn field. We were able to visit with the farmer – Ms. Wong – whose family tended this part of the corn field. We learned that the main reason for the burning had to do with the development in recent years when farmers can now get natural gas cheaply; they no longer keep the corn stalks for fuel. It is easier just to burn them and use them as fertilizer. The only problem is that it is very bad for the air quality.
The point is located within the boundary of Tai An city which is famous for the Tai Mountain nearby – one of the “five famous mountains” of China. Our remaining drive was supposed to give us a good view of the Tai Mountain, but the dense haze from the burning pretty much obscured the view.
The nearest township from the confluence point about 1 km away is called Ma Zhong, meaning “horse village”.
This point will be well remembered as the burning and smoking point.
The detour for this line hunting took just about one hour, and we made it to Jinan for the appointed dinner with 30 minutes to spare.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 1 – A straight shot by car and 200 meters by foot (Scale: 1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 2– The smoke and hazy air from widespread burning of corn stalk is not pretty but it is an interesting sight (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 2– North central China rural setting (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)