Chapter 23: The first gathering
Translated by me, edited by Kai.
If you think that vegetables are the only expensive thing here, then you are still in for a ride. This is how Jiang Hai felt as soon as he walked into the fruit section of the supermarket. Apart from vegetables, the fruits here are expensive to the point of nightmares.
Watermelons, $0.99 a pound. Kiwi $1.30 each. Oranges, around 1.2kg each, $4.99. Apples, $1.99 a pound. When he saw these prices, Jiang Hai can’t help but think about the cheap prices in China. Of course this is the price of only regular fruits. The better quality ones are of course more expensive.
At least this allowed Jiang Hai to see an opportunity to earn more. His ranch has a max capacity of 100,000 cows. Currently he is only raising 20,000 heads, so he has got free land left even if he rotates the cows every season. In these free spaces, he can plant some fruits and vegetables. He can guarantee that when these fruits and vegetables hit the market they will definitely sell. However everything right now is just talk. After a quick round of examination, they quickly started to grab the things they need.
Jiang Hai said he was paying for everything tonight, so of course they picked up all the good stuff. The beef they bought is of course the highest grade available here in the supermarket. The standard grade beef shoulder here is $8 a pound and they picked up 200 pounds. All these beef is not just for tonight but also for regular uses. Moreover, estate owners like him definitely need to provide food for his workers.
200 pounds of beef, 10 packages of chicken wings and bits, Jiang Hai also want to buy some fish but was stopped by both Edward and Robins. Since his fishery is full of stock, Edward only needs half an hour with a fishing rod there and he will fish up more than enough for tonight. There is also a bunch of other stuff they need. For example onions. Average Americans can’t stand the taste of scallions, ginger and garlic, but they like the taste of onions. Onions can also be used to bring out more of the beef flavour so it is a useful item. Apart from these, there is also lettuce, carrots, celery, eggplant and so on. Of course these all have to be organic, although Jiang Hai is a bit short on money, but he isn’t strapped to the point of not being able to afford these.
When the old generation of Chinese saved money, it usually came from the stuff they ate. However if Jiang Hai wants to save money then cutting food costs definitely won’t be enough. Since it is like this then you might as well as spend a bunch to satisfy you needs. So apart from vegetables and meats, Jiang Hai also bought large amounts of fruits. Such as apples, oranges, and canadian blueberries. These berries cost $3 for roughly half a pound! Truly expensive. In the end everything totaled around $2100. Obviously Jiang Hai does not care about this small amount of money. Usually these kind of large orders generally include shipping, so this is something they can make use of next time. For now, they transferred everything to the car.
Originally Edward and Robins tried to convince Jiang Hai to not help carry the shopping but just pay the tab, but they clearly didn’t know Jiang Hai’s real strength. In fact they were afraid that Jiang Hai will not have the power to move these things, thus being humiliated when the time came. To their surprise, Jiang Hai is able to carry almost the same as the both of them combined, clearly this amount of strength is not revealed by his build.
“That’s all the food, let us go pick up some drinks!” After moving everything onto the pickup, Jiang Hai declared as he got into his seat.
“Drinks? Sure! Let’s get them from Old man Tony, it is guaranteed to be good.” No ordinary cowboy or mariner are lightweight drinkers. Upon hearing the word, drinks, they would start craving for some, thus Robins straight up stated without thinking.
“Let’s hurry up and go, Old man Tony’s drinks are indeed good.” Edward agreed.
Soon after, two pickups appeared in front of Cowboy’s song once more. Currently, the bar is not open, but there are a few waiters cleaning up. When the three entered, they were clearly caught off guard, but at least they are familiar with Edward and Robins. After understanding their intentions, they left to bring the drinks.
In total they bought three kegs of self brewed beer, and 20 some bottles of hard liquor. These include gin, whiskey, rum, vodka, brandy, and tequila. Although they are pretty cheap, but they contain high levels of alcohol content. All this only cost Jiang Hai around $300. He originally thought he needed to spend at least $1000 since he drank in China and that cost him some 300 yuan a bottle, converted to USD, that is around $50. But in the end, it only came to $12 a bottle. Jiang Hai felt as if he got defrauded with nothing he can do. In China he clearly doesn’t have the connections to get buy these type of drinks so in the end whose fault is that?
After packing up all the booze, Jiang Hai and his two subordinates returned home in a rush. The next step is to prepare all the food for tonight. Americans are different from Chinese people in terms of their attitude towards gatherings. In China, especially in the north, to show their enthusiasm, they will cook many dishes. During new year’s, holidays or even when they have guests over, people from the northeast of China will always cook a large table of food. In addition the number of dishes will always be in even numbers. If there are a couple of guests then it will 6 dishes, a few guests; 8 dishes, If there is more than it’ll be 10, 12, 16 and so on. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know them, but you still have to display your enthusiasm to meet them.
However this is completely different in America. Everything they make is very simple. On the whole, gatherings like this will never be short of meats. But because there are cowboys and fishermen here thus there will never be a shortage of beef and fishes. The beef is usually marinated and then roasted, while the fishes are generally pan fried. You can certainly also make a big bonfire and cook it there. Hence the only thing Jiang Hai, Edward and Robins have to do is just marinate the meats and skewer them.
Apart from these, there are also fruits and vegetables. Basically, there is only one recipe: salads. As long as it’s not too salty and can be eaten, then it’s good. As such, prep time takes very little time. In under an hour, they have already finished preparing everything and went to light the bonfire from the wood Robins had previously cut down during his usual patrols. After that rode their ATVs and drove towards the sea.
Currently, they have already finished preparing beef, chicken and salads. The entree will be pizza ordered from a local pizzeria. When he was in China, Jiang Hai already liked to eat these things, but they’re just too expensive thus he never had the chance to try it before he had his ‘divorce’. After the ‘divorce’, he’s got the money but didn’t really try it. When he came to America, he found that the pizza here is so much better than the ones in China; Especially the ones in New York, but the one from Boston are also not bad. This time he ordered 10 16″ pizzas, more than enough for the group. Now they need to fish up some fishes for the gathering as well.
“Hey boss, have you fished before?” Edward, being a professional fisherman, has tons of different fishing rods. Fishing rods also come in many different types. There are the ones that are suited for lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, while there are ones better suited for out at sea. However they are also separated into many types. There are the ones used on a boat, on reefs, on the beach and so on. The length of the rod, the thickness, the material it is made out of and so on are all areas that require particular attention. The size of the fish hook, the thickness of the line, the type of bait used are also areas that require attention. This is not something easily understood.
“I used to fish near rivers and reservoirs.” Jiang Hai stated. He has seen fishing rods used for sea fishing, but never used it.
“Oh, well fresh water fishing is completely different from salt water fishing.” Hearing Jiang Hai’s statement, Robins commented before Edward.
“Yes, when fishing in freshwater bodies, you’re always using floats. But this is completely different out at sea. Due to the oceans being too deep apart from using floats, there is also bottom fishing, boat fishing, and sports fishing. We can’t go boat fishing since we don’t have boats right now, float fishing can only catch fish at around 1 meter depth, which isn’t deep enough, thus we can only fish using sport tricks or do bottom fishing.” Edward explained, but Jiang Hai right now clearly wants to show off his skills.
“Sports fishing requires many tricks, thus beginners on the beach usually all use bottom fishing. You can try it out.” Edward said as he handed Jiang Hai a fishing rod.
This fishing rod is completely different from those rods with very thin top that are used in freshwater bodies. This particular rod’s top is very thick, it also has a very thick line on the wheel. At the very top is a medium sized weight plus a couple of hooks, but there is no sign of any floats. Seeing this set of equipment, Jiang Hai is extremely excited. Having tried out the rod, Jiang Hai confirmed roughly how far he can throw out the hook.
Afterwards, Robins brought out some of his specially prepared baits. These baits are made up of tiny shrimps, but they really aren’t small in size. These were caught from the ocean and specially prepared to use as baits when Robins was bored previously. But upon seeing these Jiang Hai can only feel distressed.