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April 1st, 2012

Day Two: Skewed Buns and Plum Fairies

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On day two I tragically overslept the alarm by an hour. Moto-taxis at the remote district station Longquan were all geared up to take citizens to local farms for peach-blossom appreciation, but I hurried to the school and made it just in time for the presentation.

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Today was a pastry day!

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The teacher demonstrated a variety of ways to wrap the dumplings. The simplest one was called 'Jiangxi method': put the stuffing and the dumpling skin on your palm and then close the fist.

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Porous dough for buns had to wait its moment.

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"I'm not as fast as I used to be", modestly said the teacher.

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The third treat were deep-fried glutinous balls filled with bean paste and rolled in sesame seeds. They are crunchy on the outside and sticky inside.

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The buns are steaming.

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Breakfast!

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During the recess we played ping-pong...

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...and I finally had my photograph taken with the full gear on.

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Practice in pastry-making felt laid-back compared with the yesterday's frenetic frying session.

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Making the stuffing.

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Our amateur bun-making left some room for improvement.

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The resulting cripples were loaded into the steaming baskets.

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The teacher examines our steamed quasimodos.

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Tired of sampling sesame balls, the teacher offers to hack them in two halves for him to inspect the 'doneness'.

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Some teams made much worse than ours. Suggest amputation.

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With sesame balls, the trick is to keep the fire low. I feel lucky we have a chef on our team.

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Regardless of the shape, everything was eaten and taken home in boxes.

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The practice was over before 4 pm and I happily hurried back the station -- only to spend the next hour and a half lining up for the bus back to Chengdu. This week so many people come out to Longquan to appreciate peach blossoms. Dressed up in gowns and crowned with wreaths, they battle for buses like some deranged fairies.

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