After washing up, the four of them went downstairs to the Christmas tree in search of their presents.
Mr. Martin picked the largest one and handed it to Li Du. Li Du said with surprise, "That's huge."
"Oh, this is for Ah Meow," the old man, who was up to no good, smiled.
Li Du opened the package and saw a big fish in it. It was a yellowfin tuna, which looked lifelike.
As soon as Ah Meow saw it, he took a huge leap and arched his head to look at the huge fish in Li Du's arms. He cried out excitedly, "Meow, meow!"
At that instant, Li Du understood the reason behind the old man's malicious smile. It was a pillow made to look like a tuna fish, which was used to fool cats. In fact, this pillow would generally not be able to fool cats because it didn't have any fishy smell. Many cats wouldn't have seen tuna, and would not know what this was.
But Ah Meow was more intelligent than the average cat. When he saw the pillow, he knew that it was a big fish, as big as the fish he had just seen at the river near Horseshoe Town about 20 days ago.
He jumped and jumped, wanting to snatch this fish over. Li Du got irritated and so passed it to him.
Ah Meow dragged the pillow some distance away and then pored over how to eat it. After some time, he still hadn't derived at any solutiona puzzled expression came over his furry little face.
As Sophie opened Li Du's Christmas present to her, she said with a laugh, "This is really heavy. What's in here?"
After she opened it, the good-as-new phonograph was revealed.
Upon seeing the phonograph, Sophie let out a whoop. "Wow, is this the traditional black film phonograph?"
Mr. Martin and his wife were both amazed. "Such a well-kept phonograph? It's really rare."
Sophie's gift to Li Du was a scarf which she had knitted herself.
Li Du was taken aback by the gift. He hadn't expected Sophie to actually know how to knit.
Sophie had made Li Du a cashmere scarf, and a small sweater each for Ah Ow, Ah Meow, and Crispy Noodles to keep them warm during winter.
After spending the afternoon at the Martins', the two of them brought the three brats home.
Back at Sophie's home, she couldn't wait to place the phonograph by the piano to take the place of the current electronic phonograph.
There was a black record in her house, and after putting it on, a captivating tune began to play.
After spending Christmas Day with Sophie, Li Du was going to prepare for his trip home for the Spring Festival.
He had not been home in one and a half years. He hadn't spent the last Spring Festival with his parents, so this time he wanted to go back earlier.
Sophie needed to work; and her job couldn't afford her absence for too long, so the two of them would need to be separated.
Li Du entrusted the care of the cabin to Lu Guan and Brother Wolf, while he headed home with Hans, Big Quinn, and Godzilla.
Brother Wolf had opposed this. "I've got to ensure your safety, boss."
Li Du patted him on the shoulder and said, "Rest assured, there's no danger in my hometown. The public security in China is really good. I won't be showing off my riches when I'm back, and so won't be exposed to danger."
Based on his impression from when he was young, he had neither heard of kidnapping cases nor robberies taking place in his hometownthat was how good the public security was.
And so Ivana and Victoria also stayed, with Brother Wolf taking care of the two little girls. Without a doubt, he had the most experience in this regard.
Li Du was not able to bring Ah Ow and Crispy Noodles. It would be too challenging trying to pass immigration with the wolf and the raccoon. He brought Ah Meow along, after giving him a dye job and treating him like an ordinary big cat. He passed the other two brats to Sophie; they could keep Sophie company and help dispel her loneliness.
Hans bought the necessary tickets. the four of them flew first from Flagstaff to Los Angeles, and then from Los Angeles to China's capital. They made a short stop at the airport before taking another flight bound for the provincial capital.
As they had brought along many things, given the many transfers they had to make, they had to undergo various negotiations and ensure keen supervision. In addition, they would also need to feed Ah Meow, as well as clear his excretait was tedious.
Finally, as they landed at the airport of the provincial capital, Hans said in a downcast voice, "Li, if you're so rich, can you buy a private jet? It would be more convenient to go places, right?"
"Right," Li Du lamented.
Hans was delighted. "Do you want to buy it when you return? I've got a college friend working in Boeing. I can get him to recommend something to you."
Li Du said, "Can neither afford to buy nor upkeep one. I've not even bought a house yet. What's with the hurry to buy a jet? Don't think about it!"
As the plane gradually landed, Hans opened the shades and looked out. A shocked lock came over his face; he was dumbfounded.
Outside, the cold wind whistled, and the ground was covered with snow. Looking out from inside the plane, the surrounding farmland was all snowy white!
Li Du looked out and said, "We're lucky."
Hans looked at him angrily. "Lucky? Didn't you say your hometown was Miami? And that you're bringing me to enjoy warmth and sunshine? What's going on?"
Li Du said, "Of course we're lucky. Obviously, it has been snowing heavily, or we've even encountered a snowstorm. If our plane tried to land while it was snowing, it would be delayed."
Hans was stunned. "You're right, buddy. Lucky indeed. Oh, no, I was asking you, what about Miami? What about the sun and the warmth?"
Li Du said, "God gave you blue eyes for you to find your own golden sunlight. Come on, don't think so much. Just enjoy your vacation at my place."
Hans was speechless.
The airplane landed on the runway and finally stopped. The doors opened, and as business-class passengers, they had the priority to disembark and get off the plane first.
Li Du had brought a lot of luggage with him, containing many gifts for his parents, friends, and family. He was doing well now and since it was the new year, the more gifts the merrier.
As he walked out of the airport, he spotted the owner of a Buick GL8 MPV soliciting for passengers. He asked him, "How much does it cost to Qi Meng County?"
His hometown, Qi Meng County, was more than 170 miles from the provincial capital. It was considered a big job for these car-hirers. The driver perked up upon hearing his words. "To Qi Meng County?" How's 500 dollars?"
Five hundred dollars? Li Du was shocked when he heard that the prices in his hometown were so low. It only cost 500 dollars to travel such a long distance?
To confirm the price, he asked, "500 yuan or 500 US dollars?"
The bald driver laughed, "Bro, you really know how to joke. Since we are here, RMB of course."
The price of 500 yuan was too low. Li Du agreed readily, "Deal, let's go!"
The bald driver said, "Then get into the car. According to the rules, you'll have to pay for the ride first. Otherwise, if you don't pay up when you get back home, it will be difficult for me to get the money back since I'm not familiar with the place."
Li Du thought the 500 dollars price tag was way too low and willingly paid up. "Reverse your car a little. I've got another three friends and some luggage to load up."
When the car backed up, massive-looking Big Quinn and Godzilla walked over. The bald driver's expression changed instantaneously.