Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
As the helicopter landed, Hans and Big Quinn stood staring blankly at the rocks in the distance. Li Du opened the helicopter’s door and jumped out, waving like a leader. “Guys, what’s the matter?”
Hans walked over in astonishment, circling the helicopter twice before asking, “Did you rent this?”
Li Du said, “I bought it.”
“Used helicopters?” asked Hans.
It was tough to tell exactly how old the Mi-8 was. After all, it had been in the warehouse for years, and even though Big Ivan had cleaned it up and maintained it, there was no way of hiding that it was second hand.
“Yes, I bought a used helicopter for more than $200,000,” said Li Du.
Hans glared at him. “What? More than $200,000? You must be kidding me. Who would sell a helicopter at that price?”
Li Du smiled and said, “Who told you that was my original price? We got it second hand.”
Hans continued to guess. “Did you go to a nightclub as a gigolo? Which rich lady paid for the helicopter?”
Li Du was even more shocked. “D*mn, what did you do when you were in Los Angeles?”
“I am just kidding.” Hans laughed.
Li Du stared at him suspiciously. He did not believe Hans. This guy might have been a gigolo in clubs.
Hans ignored him, climbed into the helicopter, and circled around inside. “Hurry up and have your pilot take off. I want to see the island from the air.”
Big Ivan shook his head and said, “The sand is too soft. If it is not necessary, we should try not to take off and land frequently.”
Li Du pulled Hans down and pointed to the ocean. “Don’t make a scene. Take me to the gems now.”
Hans shook his head and said, “Are you crazy? Look what time it is. The water is freezing right now. Do you want to freeze to death? We’ll go tomorrow at noon.” After all, it was late autumn. When they stood on the island, the wind felt cold, not to mention the water.
There was a small wooden building on the island that Hans and Big Quinn had built. It was a kind of stilted building often seen in southern China. Under the small building was an empty space surrounded by boards, so from the outside it looked more like a stilted building. Li Du had seen some stilted buildings deep in the mountains in the south that were built in such a way so that people could live upstairs while raising pigs downstairs.
Of course, it would be impossible to actually raise pigs in this small building. It was covered with lime, snake powder, insect repellents, and other substances to keep it dry and keep out snakes. It was hard to live in this building since so many people were on the island now. However, Hans said it was no problem. They could squeeze onto the yacht, which had air-conditioned rooms. They could turn on the air conditioner at night, burn diesel, and not suffer.
In addition to learning underwater photography when he was bored, Hans also took care of the building in his free time. He made a platform out of crushed stones in front of the building, and a cabin out of tents and wood. It was their kitchen and dining room, but it was too warm to live in at the moment.
In the afternoon, Li Du said, “We have nothing to do. By the way, where’s Christie? Why didn’t I see her?”
Hans looked at the ocean and said, “She’s in the water. She won’t stop until 5:30pm.”
Li Du was surprised and said, “5:30? Is that too late? Will it be cold?”
“No way, man. To make money, we have to do this. You must suffer and endure. How can you make money lying down and enjoying it?” said Hans.
“When you were a gigolo in Los Angeles, you were just lying around enjoying the money,” Sophie said with a smile.
Hans looked at Sophie in disbelief. He kept seeing Sophie as a puzzle. She touched her face and asked, “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?”
“Little Sophie, when did you become so wicked? How could you say that? God is above you. He is watching what you are doing,” cried Hans theatrically.
Then Sophie knew Hans had tricked her. “God is not above me, he is in my heart. I said this with His permission.”
The group went to the sea while they “quarreled.” The yacht had a refrigerator, which contained various kinds of seafood they usually caught, including lobsters, crabs, fish, and mussels.
Living on the coast had the advantage of convenient seafood that was rich in variety, pure and wild, and clean and delicious. However, to live there, one would have to be rich, because every trip depended on the yacht. To keep the yacht ready to go, one would have to throw out a few thousand dollars.
From time to time, the sea woman swam to the surface. Upon seeing Li Du and others, she did not stop her work. She just smiled and nodded.
Sophie beckoned. “Take a rest, Christie. You don’t have to be so tired.”
“I’m not tired. I need to work until 10 to 11 o’clock at night in the harvesting season,” said the sea woman with a smile.
“Brooks is a jerk!” exclaimed Hans.
Li Du looked at the two big black gold abalones and said admiringly, “Christie is really good, with one dive bringing two black gold abalones.”
“You haven’t seen her limits. Once she harvested four black gold abalones in one breath,” said Hans.
Big Ivan said, “Boss is involved in the black gold abalone industry, too?”
Brother Wolf asked, “Have you eaten it before?”
Big Ivan shook his head. “In Crimea, Australian black gold abalone, like black sea sturgeon caviar, it is a luxury item.”
Li Du patted him on the shoulder and said, “You can eat as many as you like tonight.” Li Du loved talented people, and Ivan could make a helicopter that had been grounded for four or five years fly on his own.
Li Du and Big Quinn prepared dinner. They had rich ingredients such as red meat and various vegetables. Big Quinn started with beef stew, which was traditionally served at night in a cold place like the island, where it was necessary to drink scalding beef soup. He also doused the stew with red chili powder for extra heat.
In addition to the stew, he also made baked clam, scallops, oysters, mussels, and more. There were also some clams in the oven. Big Quinn only needed to sprinkle a little rosemary on them. They were warm, slippery, delicious.
There were many sapphire grapes on the island, so Big Quinn and Hans had picked some and made their own wine. This kind of wine was similar to fruit juice. It was not wine in the traditional sense, but was sweet and clear, with the bouquet of wild plants. It was a very outstanding beverage.