Chapter 7 Courtyard 2

That night, I dreamed of the pond and endless mosquitoes.

To be honest, I wasn’t worried about mosquitoes. In fact, I hadn’t worried about mosquitoes for many years and couldn’t remember the last time I had to deal with them. But I also knew that Fatty was right. Poorly maintained ponds were a disaster. In fact, there were a few places I remembered seeing that had extremely clear water and particularly magnificent aquatic plants. One was in a documentary about southern France. I remembered that there was a particular scene in that film that captured a place called Roussillon. There was a river at the edge of the shot, the water as clear as glass. The riverbed was also full of beautiful aquatic plants, which made for a very spectacular sight.

There were also pools formed by snowmelt from the mountains. The water was extremely clean but freezing cold, so only cold-water fish could live in it. Bugs couldn’t survive at all.

But in Fujian, it probably wouldn’t take long before everything ended up in the water.

In my dream, the mosquitoes and pond were in a constant struggle. I woke up in the morning feeling dizzy, so I made some tea and went to the door to look out at our simple courtyard. “I have to make a pond,” I said to Fatty. “Help me think of something.”

Fatty touched his chin and said, “If you’re willing to spend 300,000 yuan each year on the electricity bill, I’ll help you.”

“Why would it be so expensive?”

Fatty pointed to the mountain behind us, “Dig a pool half the size of a basketball court on the mountain, cover it with asbestos roofing sheets, lay refrigeration pipes like they use for ice skating rinks underneath it, and then connect it to a refrigeration machine. Freeze half of the water in the pool and connect the other half directly to our yard through pipes and pumps so that the water temperature can be kept below 5 degrees all year round. The water will be circulated back to the mountain by the pumps. If it’s filtered properly along the way, I guarantee this pool will be as clean as the ones on the snow-capped mountains.”

“And the electricity bill will be 300,000 yuan a year.”

“Or you could use photovoltaics instead.(1) It’s 350,000 yuan for one 100kw set. You’ll need three sets, which will cost about 1,050,000 yuan, but they’ll last a long time.”

I fell silent. There was nothing wrong with setting up photovoltaics on the mountain, but that much money wasn’t something I could decide on a whim.

For breakfast, Poker-Face went to the town and brought back soy milk and youtiao, along with a box of fried buns, a box of steamed taro buns, and three bowls of firewood noodles.(2) I carefully discussed this topic with them while the three of us ate.

“As long as you can get 1,050,000 yuan, I’ll definitely support you,” Fatty said. “Flowing water in front of a house is good for feng shui, but this isn’t a small sum of money. What are you going to do? It’s not like you can make that much cooking up dishes one by one.”

“Why are you so willing to support me?” I asked him.

“It’s good for us to have something to do at this age.” Fatty ate three fried buns in one bite, leaving his mouth covered in oil, “I only have mahjong and fishing right now.”

I looked at Poker-Face and he looked at me. “Do you have a secret stash of money?” I asked him.

He shook his head but didn’t say anything.

After eating, we went to open the restaurant. Customers soon started arriving, and when they saw the lanterns hanging up, they immediately started taking pictures. I sat on the door’s threshold and saw that there were already four cats outside today. In addition to the tabby and the orange cat from before, there were also two cats with tortoiseshell patterns on their fur. Someone had to be leaving cats in my area.

But I didn’t care about that right now; I was more concerned about money. After thinking about it for a while, I went over to the counter to settle the accounts. But Poker-Face was already a skilled cashier. I couldn’t find my place there, so I found a corner of the counter where I could squat down and then started punching numbers into a calculator.

After working for a while, I found that 1,050,000 yuan was a ten-year goal for an ordinary business.

At this time, my daredevilish nature began to rear its head. I took out my cell phone, and after thinking about it for a moment, called Wang Meng up and asked him to help me check and see if there were any shopping malls with skating rinks that had closed down across the country. I also asked him to help me see if there were any industrial factories or mines in the northwest that had shut down and didn’t need their photovoltaic equipment anymore.

When I was a child, there was a period of time where I dreamed of being a scrap king. I would pick up all kinds of parts and use them to build all kinds of equipment by myself.

Who would have thought that all of my dreams would come true after coming here to Fujian?

<Chapter 6><Table of Contents><Chapter 8>


TN Notes:

(1) Photovoltaics is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. So think along the lines of solar panels.

(2) Youtiao are long golden-brown deep-fried strips of dough. Steamed taro buns can be sweet as taro roots have a mild, nutty taste. Here’s a random recipe I found. Firewood noodles are a Fujian dish consisting of noodles, various meats, pig liver, and pig intestines (I think).


2 thoughts on “Chapter 7 Courtyard 2

    1. Omg! 🤣 I don’t know why a chili version of Poker face with cats just popped in my mind but I hope someone would draw one someday coz it’s actually adorably funny 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

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