New Yorkers are proud—their accent shows that.
The American English accent didn’t have much variety—there was no more than the difference between the north and south accent. New York was unique because it had its own accent, and the local people were proud of that accent.
As long ago as the Copernicus era, someone knew that the earth was not the center of the universe, and Bruno defended this truth with his life.
But that didn’t make sense in New York: they thought that New York was the center of the earth and the center of the universe, and this fact was something New Yorkers were proud of.
Li Du could understand this feeling. Just like in China, residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou were proud of their hometown. New York was the world’s first city. It would be normal for them to be proud of their city.
It was afternoon when they arrived in New York. After they had wandered about, it was almost dinner time.
“It has a great business feel, lots of expensive apartments, trendy restaurants and new era food courts,” said the driver, who advised them to visit Tribeca.
Tribeca was short the short name for the street east of Broadway and was a tourist attraction in New York.
Li Du was not interested in this kind of place. He wanted to go to Chinatown for dinner.
In New York’s Chinatown, home to more than 150,000 Chinese residents, there were many cramped rented rooms and cramped apartments, where people lived in luxurious shells next to a place that actually contained slums.
Many of the Chinese in Chinatown were illegal immigrants who either snuck in or overstayed their visas to earn a living.
The driver said, “In the evening, Chinatown is relatively in chaos and I’m afraid of meeting bad guys. If you want to eat Chinese food, I recommend the sunset park in Brooklyn or Flushing in Queens.
These two places were also home to more than 100,000 Chinese, which showed how large Chinese populations were in New York.
“In Chinatown, actual Chinese food is not very popular. There are many Vietnamese people there, and they opened a lot of restaurants inside, so . . . ” The driver shrugged and hoped Li Du would change his mind.
Li Du laughed and said, “Don’t worry, you see these two? They can handle any bad guys.”
He pointed back. Godzilla folded his arms to reveal the exaggerated lines of his muscles. Brother Wolf was silent but if studied carefully, the proud aura could be felt coming from deep inside his bones.
Seeing that Li Du was determined to go, the driver again shrugged and drove them over.
By this time Chinatown was becoming more and more lively, and Li Du was walking around with Sophie, listening to the Chinese words that kept ringing in his ears.
Cantonese, Hokkien, and Mandarin were the three most common languages, along with Lu, and Northeast dialect, and so on. This made Li Du feel like home.
Sunset Park and Flushing had a lot of Chinese but no atmosphere of places like Chinatown, which had many Chinese here.
The street was lined with restaurants and hotels, a hotpot restaurant, barbecue restaurant, Sichuan restaurant, Northeast restaurant, Lu restaurant, northwest restaurant and so on. There was much variety.
Many restaurants had transparent windows with roasted pigs, roast lamb legs and various types of bacon. Some restaurants even had fish tanks at their door with lively fish swimming in them.
Seeing Li Du snuggling up to a beautiful woman, followed by two big men, the shop owners with sharp eyes guessed that he was a rich man. They approached trying to convince him to have dinner in their restaurants.
“Big brother, come here, we have the most vigorous seafood. A man would be hard after this meal and a lady would be wet!”
“Boss, come and see our authentic spicy hot pot, it’s tasty!”
“Big brother, come to my shop. Chew big bones and drink big wine, it would be fun.”
Li Du was full of interest to feel the atmosphere, and suddenly saw a familiar figure, and unconsciously asked, “Cao Fan, Brother Cao?”
He saw a Chinese man in his thirties, with a mustache and a bright smile on his face. It was Cao Fan, a Chinese man he had met in Australia.
He didn’t speak loudly enough so Can Fan didn’t hear him. A middle-aged man beside him heard though. He pulled Cao Fan in surprise and pointed at Li Du and the others’ direction.
Seeing Li Du, Cao Fan laughed. He quickly came to take Li Du’s hand and said, “Brother Li, long time no see, this is unexpected. What can I say, other than it’s fate?”
Li Du laughed, “This is fate. I am also surprised, just worried about misidentifying someone.”
“Er Gou Fan looks so ugly, usually it would not be difficult to recognize him,” laughed the middle-aged man nearby.
Cao Fan turned and gave him a punch. Then he said, “This is Li Du, a young Chinese man. Don’t think he’s too young—he’s a successful man. This is my old buddy, Big Cat.”
Li Du shook hands with the middle-aged man and then asked in a low voice, “What’s your friend’s real name, brother Cao?”
“Just call me Big Cat,” the middle-aged man said cheerfully. “Also, don’t call him brother Cao, just call him Er Gou.”
Cao Fan asked Li Du what he was doing here. Before Li Du could speak, Cao Fan suddenly said, “Come to the annual meeting of the Winston Group, right? I’m such a pig’s brain, I ask stupid questions.”
“It’s not a pig’s brain, it’s a dog’s brain,” laughed Big Cat.
Obviously, he had a close relationship with Cao Fan, and Cao Fan laughed without any grudge upon hearing Big Cat’s words.
After a few conversations, Cao Fan was informed that Li Du came to have dinner. Cao Fan invited him to dinner anyway and said he would introduce another young successful man to him.
Li Du could not reject; he followed Cao Fan to a roasted duck restaurant.
The restaurant was very popular, there were at least 50 people in line at the door, most of them foreigners. Quite a few wore high-grade clothes and spoke extraordinarily. Apparently, they were part of upper-class society.
The shop was decorated in a traditional and unsophisticated style, featuring authentic fruit-wood roast duck. There was a big oven in the hall that had been built with bricks.
Next to the fire was a large number of prepared ducks, which, after eviscerating, had been greased and dressed in layers, and then steamed in special boxes to reduce the dampness in the meat.
The fire was raging inside the stove, and the chefs kept filling it with wood packed in little cardboard boxes labled “pear,””apple,””date,” and “apricot” trees.
There were hooks in the stove. An old Chinese gentleman with a long white beard used a stick over two meters long to cook ducks.
He fiddled with the stick, starting with the duck’s head and tail, moving and hanging it again until it was fully cooked.
After Cao Fan and Big Cat went in, a waiter immediately approached them respectfully and took them to the top floor.
“There are two powerful characters in our Chinese circle: a little brother named Tang Chaoyang, and a big brother named Song Biaozi,” introduced Cao Fan while they went up to the second floor. “The little brother takes control of the big brother, but both of them are easy fellas.”
Listening to this introduction, Li Du felt that the description was a bit familiar. He had met two such people.