Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Countryside and leaving

One of 高琳's mom's friends has relative in the country, and for spring festival they all returned to their house to make baobao. They invited me to come eat dinner at their house and help- well actually I was just invited to dinner, but the helping was unavoidable and fun. Driving to the country! The car's windows were tinted, so I'm surprised the pictures turned out as well as they did.

After dinner the making began! Here is on of the many fresh pieces I was given to eat, despite the fact that we had just eaten a very filling dinner :)  Cute baby (and 高琳's mom)!

OK, so to make this food, they start steaming huge pots of rice every morning. The steamed rice is then scrapped into pots, and the pots of rice are tossed onto an angled table which has a funnel like head leading to the rice grinder. The grinder slowly releases the compressed and ground rice in the form of a stream of baobao! It's really hot, and someone has to cut the stream into chunks, then toss them onto a table, where lots of people (me too!) roll them so they don't stick to the cloth while they're so hot. Then other people carry the "cooled" baobao to a tray to cool further. Your hands get really hot but it was fun.  There were lots of jokes about how I was the american working in a Chinese factory, and that we should go into business together- a joint US-China venture. Also suggested, somewhat inevitably, that I marry into the family. During the night one of their dogs, still a puppy, fell into their toilet and proceeded to evade capture for awhile, until he was caught and bathed. During the night one of the implements used to scrape the cooked rice into the grinder fell into the grinder, which meant the grinder had to be disassembled- while this was happening I learned how to play that game with a string/loop (cat.. something? I don't remember) from the small boy in the picture below and 高琳. This is the family photo!

Lots of baobao! They sent me back with four, but each one weighs.. 4 lbs? so I only have one right now :) 

The next day was Spring Festival! After a sumptuous dinner, we joined the rest of the city and bought some fireworks! And a red lantern, which was my favorite. Despite some initial problems lighting it, it ended up successfully flying away. 

The day in between these photos I forgot to bring my camera, but we went to another Auntie's house and studied Chinese/English respectively. 

Then we decided to climb the mountain we hadn't yet climbed! Our optimistic beginning.

The path was steep.

GaoLin and I both don't like heights.. note her makeshift sunscreen! She thought she looked like an old woman with it.

View from the top!

On the way down we stopped at the temples for 高琳 to pray, she bought these incense which I held for her while she prayed. 

After all this adventure, we were very hungry, so we got some quail eggs (?) on a stick!

That night I learned how to play sichuan mahjiang and went to my first bar! Which wasn't actually a bar, more of a tea shop, because after mahjiang with one group of friends, we met another to say goodbye/discuss their lives since they were leaving the next day. As usual, I was not allowed to help pay for our overpriced tea. 

Since I seem to have accumulated items while in 文山, we went to the wholesale market to find some cheap luggage. This was too good not to take a picture of. 

We ate this for 1 kuai- still not sure what exactly it was, maybe rice cake? But it was good.

These are the Miao(?) people, famous for their silver works. One of the many ethnic groups you see in Yunnan regularly!

Our last restaurant excursion! Gaolin carefully considers what is vegetarian. The menu had some really good chinglish. 

We met other friends for dinner, mahjiang and wandered around their old high school/middle school. Morning was packing a pictures, which I haven't uploaded yet. Anddd now I'm waiting in the airport in Kunming, after the 4.5 hr bus ride from WenShan. Though I'm excited to start a new semester/get to know another city, it was really hard to leave 高琳 and her family. Frankly, we were both crying a lot for a while, our only consolation was that we both said we'll visit Dalin or another city in the future when we have disposable incomes and free time. She really made my time in China super excel

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