I got our business license this morning, so I was a little excited. After we got everything organized, we were ready to start a trial run. Our source of income was expected to be mainly tour groups and travelers, because there were tulou scenic spots within a two hours’ drive from here. We felt that there would be a steady stream of people, but as soon as we opened, we found that it was more of a ghost crowd.
There were a lot of small attractions in Fujian, but the best scenic spots were on the road and in the mountains. The local people weren’t really keen on developing tourism, so there were many places like Rain Village.
There were usually small attractions listed on internet vlogs by those families who had an open mind. I remembered one such famous scenic spot that had an amazing Tyndall effect from the banyan trees, mist, village women, and cattle. Under the misty banyan trees at dawn, the cattle and village women were bathed in a holy light.
In fact, it was just banyan trees, village women, cattle farmers, and a team of smoke cake farmers who were trying to work. But every day, dozens of cars full of sunset photography enthusiasts would gather around them to take pictures. The more they photographed, the more popular it became.
There were more than a dozen farmhouses near this attraction.
Our farmhouse was close to the town and far away from Rain Village. If I took some pictures and wrote some articles about Rain Village’s scenery, I figured there would be a sea of people here soon, but I would never do it.
In fact, the remoteness and quietness of this land actually started to have some negative effects. Although I didn’t want my farmhouse business to be so good that we didn’t have time to enjoy a quiet life, it should at least be like Wulin Inn, where we could meet all kinds of interesting people and hear all kinds of stories.
After hanging around all morning, Fatty cooked a table full of dishes. We ate there by ourselves at noon, not a single customer in sight.
“It’s just like Wushanju,” Fatty said. “It’s like we’ve returned to West Lake.”
I almost threw my beer in his face.
“It’s not the same,” I said to him. “Think about how there are so many people visiting West Lake daily, but Wushanju is still empty. Usually, there aren’t any people visiting this place, so it’s normal if no one is here right now.”
“Oh, that’s great. At least the logic is consistent,” Fatty teased me.
I sighed and looked at the empty door, telling myself that I’d start the mahjong operation tonight. Not only was starting a business hard, but keeping it running was hard, too.
I washed the dishes in the afternoon and then the three of us sat in lounge chairs, dozing in the sunshine. After some time had passed, I suddenly heard someone cough.
I sat up and saw three young girls—presumably students—standing at our door, wearing traditional Han Chinese clothes and holding cameras.
Our tables were all set up under a large shed, so they must have come here to get out of the sun. I looked at them and they looked at me, seemingly a little embarrassed. After a short pause, they asked, “Boss, is there any ice water?”
I got up and gave them three bottles, charging them two yuan each.
They sat in the shade under the big shed and looked at us while drinking their water. I was feeling very depressed at this time, “Do you sell water?” Our first order turned out to be selling water.
Most of Wushanju’s sales also came from water, since Wang Meng had discovered that water sold better than antiques.
In the end, I sat down off to the side and started sketching the design drawing for our house. It needed a lot of refining, so I made a handmade easel out of wood. Of course, the fastest way would be to use a computer, but why bother? I had plenty of time.
The three girls came over to watch. I didn’t know when they started taking pictures, but two hours later, near dinner time, a dozen young girls wearing strange clothes showed up. They all came to stand by my workbench and watch. I asked what was going on and found out that the previous three had posted photos of my design on Weibo. Many of them had come here to see a farmhouse owner with an architect’s dream.
Fatty was busy in the evening while I was taking photos with them and posting their messages on the wall, all of which were very inspirational.
After that, the three of us sat around and washed dishes. We had earned a total of 2,800 yuan, so I gave Poker-Face and Fatty 800 each, and kept 1,200 yuan for myself.
They went back to the village to sleep first, but I turned on a lamp and continued designing in the store. In the future, I would also make a workbench in my own room, but I would continue doing it here in the store for now.
There weren’t any street lights in the area, so only the two hanging lights in the store and the lamp beside my workbench were keeping the darkness at bay. I felt very happy and calm in my heart, so I was very focused on my work and soon finished several schemes for the foundation. I chose concrete (1) for the foundation’s material, since it was very cheap and could be obtained locally from the mountains.
I happened to glance up at this time and suddenly saw a shadow standing in the darkness outside. Under the moonlight, it was very tall and looked a bit like a “person” hiding among the bamboo.
(1) The raw said “sanhetu”, which could also be called sanhe soil or sanhetu concrete. It’s a construction material obtained by preparing and compacting three materials. Different areas have different types of sanhe soil but hydrated lime is indispensable. Sanhe soil existed in the age when there was no cement or it was scarce. In modern times, it’s just called concrete. Science abstract discussing it is here.