Home Away From Home (Day 2)

The next morning we woke up to a beautiful sight:

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Everything was bright and beautiful, and breakfast was waiting downstairs.

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Breakfast was noodles with vegetables, hotdog slices, a fried egg, and of course hot peppers. We are still in Hunan, after all.

After breakfast we taught Brother how to play American checkers with a board and pieces meant for an entirely different game. It worked, mostly, and I finally won a game after two days of playing board games and card games, so I was very excited.

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After a bit of hanging around and contemplating the foggy morning, it was decided that the weather was too–cold? foggy? something, so instead of climbing the big mountain, we took a walkabout.

But first we had to wash up some apples to snack on while we walked. And since there’s a well, why not use that?

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Then we ventured out from the back of the house.

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The initial impression was of empty rice paddies, already harvested, and inhabited by various groups of chickens and ducks.IMG_0339

We trekked out to the small hill you can see here, and climbed that instead of the mountain.

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From here it looks pretty small, with some grass and bushes, right? Wrong. That thing is covered in bamboo and trees that is much more difficult to fight your way through than it looks. But we managed, and Grandma even found some vegis to pick on the way!

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The view from the top was (as expected) amazing.

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There was a brief argument between Brother and Grandma about which way to hike down the mountain, but we ended up following Grandma because, well, she’s the grandma. You kind of have to do what she says.

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On our way down we came across this little spring. They told us the water was fresh from the mountain, and we drank some right there, using our hands as a cup.

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Grandma showed us how to suck the nectar from these flowers, just like Honeysuckle! It was very tasty.

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Then we found the farms.

Grandma picked us some bok choy to take back to school with us. I don’t think it was their farm, though. I’m not actually sure who’s farm it was, but I hope they don’t mind us taking some vegetables.

The first farms we came to were in a little cup of a valley between the big mountain, the little hill, and some ridges across the way that were apparently part of a different village.

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We found a lake that didn’t have much water in it, and a cave! It might have had snakes!

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We didn’t see any, though. But then, while Sister and Cousin took photos,

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I turned around…

and saw…

a COW.

*gasp*

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We kept walking. And when a man on a bicycle came by, we flagged him down and bought some fresh steamed buns filled with slightly-melted sugar to eat as we walked.

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We found more ducks in the rice paddies!

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And a pipe to cross, which Sister soon discovered was impossible to turn around on after you pass the half-way point.

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Right about the time that the clouds finally started clearing off,

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We came across this little temple:

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After that we walked along a stream and through some more gardens, where we found the usual garden vegetables, as well as some fruit trees, including pomelos.

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And bamboo! It wouldn’t be China without bamboo, right?

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We saw many many chickens as well. Then we returned to the house for lunch, and were served chickens.

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We helped (crack? open? de-chestnut?) liberate chesnuts from their thorny prisons for a while,

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before grabbing our bags and heading downstairs,

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for one final photo.

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From top left: Cousin, Brother, girl we thought was Younger Sister but was actually Cousin #2, Me, Sister. And I hope you can guess who the two on the bottom are.  (Many thanks to my co-teacher for taking this picture!)

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