After the driver explained, Li Du soon understood what was going on.
Now, the provincial capital airport had followed in the footsteps of the railway station and had become chaotic. Many drivers of black cars had been waiting there for the opportunity to swindle passengers.
They would target those from out of town and offered low prices to entice them. After driving the passengers off, they would find a deserted place to drop the passengers off before going back in search of the next gullible passenger.
After being bullied, the passengers would call the police, but the police couldn't care less about such matters.
It was not that the police were unhelpful but the passengers had chosen rogue drivers. There was no proof that they had pre-negotiated the destinations with the drivers.
After such incidents, the police could only put up posters at the airport, reminding passengers not to take the black cars.
However, some passengers were attracted by the cheap pricing and chosen to take the black car upon finding out their low pricing. This had led to such incidents repeating time and time again.
The main reason why he hadn't dared to swindle Li Du was that Godzilla and Big Quinn's builds were too massivehe was afraid of getting beaten up.
Secondly, they had no guts to approach the foreigners. When they had swindled the locals, the police couldn't deal with the matter as there was no proof. However, if foreigners were swindled, the attitude and effort put in by the police would be different.
After listening to the driver, Li Du was downcast.
There were two reasons for his dismal attitude: the first was that his hometown had become such a mess; secondly, the difference in the attitude of the police toward foreigners versus compatriots was so disappointing.
However, as the minibus approached his hometown, his mood improved gradually. Many problems might have existed in his country and hometown, but in terms of public security, it was less problematic than in the United States. He believed that the government would resolve the problems in the future, and this mess would be eradicated eventually.
Qi Meng County was an ordinary small county in the northern part of China. It mainly had agriculture and light industry. Formerly, the urban area had been small but now with the country's push toward urban development, the urban area was expanding rapidly.
Li Du remembered that when he'd left for overseas, the city's area had already more than doubled. This time, he noticed that the area had further expanded.
Now, building construction was everywhere outside the county. Looking at the bustling construction site in this cold winter and the buildings that had sprouted from the ground, he was puzzled. Why was the property market in the county sizzling?
His family used to be located in a town on the edge of the county. With the extension of the area of the county, the town had since been included as part of the county. His account had changed from being in the countryside to being in the county.
However, when the speed of urbanization was too fast, many problems could arise. Software development in this part of their town had been delayed and tall buildings were juxtaposed with farmland. This side of town had become a village in a city.
They departed at noon. The bus couldn't drive fast, especially since there had been heavy snowfall a few days ago. By the time the bus entered the former town, now a village in a city, it was almost evening time.
The bus drove into the village, and unlike what he remembered, there were not many single-story cottages in the village nowthey had been replaced by two or three-story buildings.
These small buildings were not beautiful bungalows, but more like one or two-story extensions that had been built upon the existing buildings.
Given the massive change to his village, Li Du was a little uncertain about the exact location of his home.
There was a tall, thin, middle-aged man who was pouring something in the sewage ditch, and when Li Du took a look at him he thought, Isn't that my old man over there?
Under his orders, the minibus squeaked to a stop beside Mr. Li.
Mr. Li had thought that someone had wanted to ask for directions and so he looked up. When the window opened, the face that he had been pining for appeared before his eyes.
Upon seeing his son's face, he didn't react, but unconsciously rubbed his eyes with his hands before jumping up in surprise. "Son!"
As he jumped up, he stumbled and bumped into the bus.
Li Du was startled and hurriedly got off to help him. "Dad, what's wrong with you?"
Mr. Li reached for him and held his arm tightly. He said, "Nothing, nothing. I just lost my balance. Son, how did you come back so suddenly?"
Li Du laughed, "Isn't the new year coming? I'm back for the new year this year."
Mr. Li was still in disbelief. "Why didn't you tell us in advance? Why did you come back so suddenly?"
Li Du said, "I was afraid that if I told you, you would be worried about me getting into accidents on the way home. So, I decided to come back without a word instead. Come, let's go home."
"Go home, go home." Mr. Li nodded. "Where did you take this bus from? Why is there such a bus coming straight to our village?"
Li Du pointed at it and said, "This is the bus I hired. I've got three friends on the bus. I'll introduce them to you later. Now, let's go home first."
Having been separated from him for one and a half years, Mr. Li really missed his son and so he held onto his son's hand all the way.
Pushing the door open once he got home, he shouted, "Min, come out quick and see who is back!"
The kitchen door opened, and Mrs. Li peered out. A torrent of tears then flowed out of her eyes.
Li Du gave his mother a hug and chuckled, "Are you too happy for words? Happy tears flowing?"
Mrs. Li gave him a pat and choked, "Oh, you ungrateful brat, you still remember your home here? You still remember your parents back at home?"
Mr. Li frowned and said, "Look at you, old woman, what are you saying? Our son calls us every two dayssince when did he forget his home? We must understand that Xiao Du has been building his career in the United States. We have gotta show him our support!"
On hearing his words, Mrs. Li turned around and glared at him. "Stop nagging, you talk about our son more than I do."
Mr. Li curled his lips and muttered, "Nonsense!"
Li Du laughed, "Enough, Mom and Dad. Aren't I back now? This time, I'll stay for a while, at least a month and a half."
"You're still going back?" Mrs. Li couldn't help asking.
Mr. Li said feebly, "Our son's career is in the United Stateshe's gotta go back to it. But then again, we do have some money now . . . How about you stay home instead?"
Li Du said, "Let's talk about this later. Let me introduce three friends to you. My friends from the United States."
He called the trio over. When they saw Hans, they smiled. When they saw Godzilla, they looked shocked. By the time the similarly aggressive-looking and well-built Big Quinn entered, the two of them were beyond shaken.
Hans was chirpy and when the two elderly had greeted him in Mandarin, he replied, "Uncle, Aunty, How are you? Happy new year!"
Li Du rolled his eyes. "New year's not here yetwhy are you saying new year greetings?
When they had been traveling, he'd reminded the three men to cooperate with him in telling his parents that they were researchers in the United States and working for professors.
This was why he brought Hans back with him; Hans was the only one who looked the most decent.
Both Godzilla and Big Quinn looked menacing, Lu Guan was covered with tattoos while Brother Wolf was too silent. None of them could play the role of his colleague or classmate.