37°N 113°E

Yushe Travel Blog

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Last weekend, I decided to visit 37°N 113°E as part of the Degree Confluence Project.  Information on the destination was pretty scarce, so I used Google Earth to draw a path along what looked like a river valley and loaded it into a hand held GPS.

Two coworkers joined me and we left Beijing on the high-speed train to Taiyuan early Saturday morning.  In Taiyuan, we grabbed some KFC and caught a taxi to the Jinnan Bus station and purchased tickets to Yushe, the nearest town to 37, 113.
  On the bus, everyone was curious why foreigners would want to visit their small town (pop 150,000).  Two hours later, we were in Yushe.

When we got off the bus, it was like the Beatles had landed!  A crowd slowly gathered to see us and find out what we were doing there.  We went into a convenience store to get some water for the rest of our hike to 37, 113 and were followed into the small shop by some of the curious onlookers.  The shop owner very happily said he was glad to meet us and welcome us to the town.

Taxi South
When we walked out of the shop, even more onlookers had gathered.  We self-consciously found a cab to take us closer to 37, 113.  The driver had got back into the cab (he'd gotten out to see what the crowd was about).  We asked him to take us to the train station.  The train station was about 4km south of town, but 37, 113 was about 8km.
  When we got to the train station, he started to slow down, but we asked him to just keep going straight.  I can only imagine how curious he was about where the heck we were going.

A bit further down the road, in the middle of nowhere, we asked him to drop us off.  Visibly surprised, he stopped and let us out at the side of the road.  He drove away slowly, observing us, as we found a dirt path into the farms to get closer to 37, 113.

The Last 4km
We followed a dirt path through farms of corn and past large rock formations.  The path soon connected with a paved road which led through a very small village.  The village seemed mostly deserted other than some elderly people sitting and chatting.  They seemed surprised to see us walking through their village, but said nothing to us.

Once we got past the village, the road became a wide dirt path again and the nice scenery resumed.
GPS at 37N 113E
  We walked another 4 km with a stream on our right and goats grazing.  Amazingly, the path I'd drawn in Google Earth before we left matched exactly with the path we followed, and it was taking us directly to 37, 113.

We got to within 20m of 37, 113 without even leaving the dirt path.  From there, we climbed a small rocky hill and got to the exact point our GPS said was 37°N 113°E.  We celebrated a bit, surprised at how easy it had been to get there, and then started hiking back.

Leaving Yushe
It was a long hike back, and we hadn't asked the taxi to come back for us, so we decided to try hitch-hiking, a first for all of us.  In the small village, we stopped a flat-bed truck and asked if they were going our way.  They said yes, they could take us.  We hopped in and they drove us all the way to the train station.  When we got out, they didn't ask for anything and then they turned around and went back the way they came.  They hadn't actually been going the same way we were, but had been kind enough to help us out anyway.

While we were waiting on the platform for our train back to Taiyuan, we struck up a conversation with one of the station managers.  I asked him, "How many foreigners come here per year?" 

He replied, "Meiyou" (none).
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GPS at 37N 113E
GPS at 37N 113E
photo by: seattlejon