Chapter 302: This guy makes so much sense
The characters ‘尼斯’ were actually derived from the French pronunciation. In English, the place was called Nice. In the words of the Chinese, even the name of the place was very auspicious, in much the same way that Xi’an had once been called Chang’an (Long Peace). How nice it sounded, how great its meaning was.
Xu Tingsheng had gone to Nice on the spur of the moment, going to the train station on a whim before buying a ticket and getting on a train.
Xu Tingsheng simply wanted to head somewhere where no one knew him, where he could tour about completely free of goals and things to achieve, staying there in a most relaxed state for a couple of days on his own.
Xu Tingsheng had originally planned to spend five to six days handling the matter of contacting those construction materials suppliers in Europe. Actually…he had also planned to ‘deal with’ Li Wan’er while he was at it…in the end, however, things had ended up in such a manner.
He had originally been planning to fly to New York to face Apple after that.
However, following Li Wan’er’s matter, Xu Tingsheng discovered that the so-called swift sabres severing haphazard bonds seemed to be something that he wasn’t able to do on his own at all.
Even for Li Wan’er for whom he had thought it would be very easy, things had ended up becoming increasingly chaotic, the entanglements between them only growing tighter…
That being the case, how would it be like with Apple?
Apple had virtually been looking forward to Xu Tingsheng coming over to see her ever since she had gone to New York. At the end of virtually every email she sent, she would ask of him: Come see me, Xu Tingsheng.
Sometimes, she would ask this of him earnestly. Sometimes, she would act pitiful. Sometimes, she would threaten him using various methods. Sometimes…she would try to use enticement.
Whatever the case, she was always hoping that he would come to see her, see how she was now. She said: I’m in especially good condition now. Even I myself really like me…I think that you will definitely like me too.
And if he really went over, when the plane landed and she was full of joy at how he had finally come to visit her…he, on the other hand, would instead have to exert all means to try to let her understand in as harmless and amicable a way as possible that…this was the end of their story.
How vicious, how painful, how forceful these words would be…would he be able to steel himself to say them?
Xu Tingsheng had been feeling troubled in the first place, not being much confident in this. Now, his mind was thrown totally into chaos.
A hesitant Xu Tingsheng ended up fleeing from this.
Those who had taken high-speed rails before definitely wouldn’t be willing to praise the speed of France’s trains. The good thing about the lower travelling speed, though, was that Xu Tingsheng was able to relaxedly admire the scenery of this foreign country in peace…
After alighting at Nice, Xu Tingsheng hesitated for a long time before turning on his phone.
Human society would ultimately progress to a point wherein everyone would be unable to rein themselves in. The most representative phenomenon of this would be how most people would not be able to voluntarily, freely turn off their phones…
The screen was full of missed calls.
Xu Tingsheng sifted through them…there were a whole lot from America. He and Apple actually seldom exchanged calls now. They were used to communicating via email, giving a calm narration of things before simply patiently awaiting a response from the other party.
This was a form of communication that both sides felt to be very comfortable, especially with the somewhat ambiguous relationship between the two though they clearly cared and worried about each other despite this.
Xu Tingsheng hesitated a little, wondering whether he should go back.
In the end, she called him first.
“Were you on a plane before this? I just couldn’t get through at all,” Apple asked worriedly as the call connected.
“…Yeah, I was,” Xu Tingsheng answered rather guiltily.
“That’s good then. It’s good that you’re okay.”
“Yep. You shouldn’t worry needlessly next time.”
“I was worrying needlessly? Who asked you not to return my mail for so many days. I got worried and asked Song Ni to help me ask around, and only then did I find out that you’re overseas. Which country are you in now?”
“Well, when you’re done, you can just conveniently come to New York.”
“Wait, can this really be called conveniently?”
“It’s on the way.”
“It’s across the ocean! The Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Pacific Ocean to the East.”
“You see? You can get here whether you go east or west. It’s just one ocean.”
“…Well, I’ll see about that when I’m done with my affairs.”
“Will it take long? Around how many days?”
“It might take long. Can’t say for sure.”
“Just tell me: how many days?”
“I really can’t say for sure. Why do you have to know so specifically?”
“…Because I’ve got to calculate the time too.”
“You, calculate the time?”
“Right. There’s a pair of African exchange students who’ve rented the room on my left and a pair of Taiwanese exchange students who’ve rented the room on my right. They’re both really noisy every night. One side sounds all boorish and heroic and the other side so coquettish…I really can’t stand it…if you come, with me a professional singer, I just don’t believe we couldn’t be louder than them! You get it now?”
“Change to another room, one with better soundproofing.”
“No way, I can’t admit defeat just like that. You don’t know, but just because I knocked the wall to remind them once, that black chick now says to me when I see her everyday: Hi, was it nice listening yesterday? Oh yeah! Then the Taiwanese chick: Oh, I am so sorry, we~disturbed~you. No, the seeds of hatred have already been planted in this sis’s heart.”
“Then, you…pretend that there’s someone in the room? Call out yourself. Take it like you’re practising singing.”
“No way! There’s no guy’s voice to play along. You’ll also have to call out a few times when you’re here.”
Xu Tingsheng smiled wryly, “Why are you still just the same as before?”
Apple said, “I’ve never heard of anyone changing their good points.”
“That’s a good point?”
“Towards you, it is.”
“Cough…I’ve got some stuff to do now. I’ll contact you later.”
“Oh, fine. Remember to hurry and tell me the approximate timing, then. Right, you’re not allowed to hook up with French chicks there. I hear they are positively lustful all the time.”
“Right, I won’t.”
Xu Tingsheng hung up. Next, he gave Mrs Xu a call, telling her that his phone would be switched off most of the time for the next few days. As Mrs Xu asked and learnt that Xu Tingsheng was in Nice, she suddenly became nervous as she warned him time and again that he was not to enter the water.
Xu Tingsheng asked, “But why?”
Mrs Xu said earnestly, “I’ve seen it in movies. There’s a sea monster in Loch Ness. It’s a really big one, and it probably eats people.”
Xu Tingsheng, “…Alright, I won’t enter the water then.”
Nice (尼斯) did not have a Loch Ness(尼斯湖). Instead, it had a coastline known as Europe’s Gold Coast.
Xu Tingsheng found a restaurant whose Boss was fluent in English and settled down there. Then, he made use of when night had still yet to fall completely and hurried to the beach.
There, he discovered that the so-called golden beach was a scam in the first place. Most of the beaches here were actually filled with pebbles rather than sand.
The ‘beaches’ of pebbles were still not lacking in bikini-clad girls. There were even some who wore nothing on their upper bodies. Xu Tingsheng emitted a startled gasp as he saw that they were actually really able to lie on the ground full of pebbles without seeming to mind this at all.
Xu Tingsheng very much wanted to go up and ask them, “Aren’t they painful? Especially some certain areas, and girl, you’re even lying prone.”
Xu Tingsheng hesitated for a long time over whether to go to the Old Town which was the most acclaimed in Nice or to simply remain at the beach before finally, he remembered that he would be staying there for quite a few days anyway. There was really no rush at all.
Sometimes, when people had gotten used to being busy, even being free instead felt a bit weird.
He sat down by the shore.
Unable to continually, openly stare at the bikini-clad girls, Xu Tingsheng directed his attention at the sea and sky ahead of him that was so blue it felt a little unreal. This was how the ocean and sky really looked. They were so beautiful they took one’s breath away, also causing one’s heart to feel expansive at the same time.
Not long after, the silence was broken as a father and son who carried a camera walked over from the distance. The father looked around thirty-five and the son six or seven. The SLR camera which could not be considered light was hanging around the neck of the son.
“Chinese? Ghosts(Japs)? Sticks(Koreans)?” Seeing Xu Tingsheng’s Oriental features, the middle-aged man came up to him and asked.
Xu Tingsheng smiled, “Chinese. Those two words you used-aren’t they a bit inappropriate? We’re outside, after all.”
The man laughed in a loud, relaxed manner, “Inappropriate my ass. If they aren’t Chinese, there’s no way they will understand it in the first place!”
Xu Tingsheng was taken aback as he realised that his words actually made a lot of sense.
“Say, do you think those pebbles hurt or not?” Perhaps because it was easier for them to become acquainted in a foreign country, the man sat down in a very familiar manner, still speaking ever so loudly as he asked without any reservations whatsoever.
“I was just thinking that too,” Xu Tingsheng responded softly.
“I think that they probably do press in rather painfully. Otherwise, look. This whole stretch-there isn’t a single man who dares to lie on it,” He said.
“Huh?” Xu Tingsheng could not figure out his logic right away.
“It’s still fine for women. After all, they’re softer and bouncier. For men, it would be eggs banging against stone, chicken and eggs. Beneath such circumstances, any man would react, then bang onto it…kaboom, wouldn’t it be no eggs, dead man? …Get it?”
Xu Tingsheng smiled, nodding. That really made a lot of sense.
The little boy suddenly began kicking up a fuss, “Sob, sob, I want to see the sea monster, I want to see the sea monster…”
His father directly slapped him on the face, “Look at you, dammit…just because you clamour all day about wanting to see a sea monster, brat, this old man had to bring you to join a tour group. And his mother, how the heck would I know that flaming Loch Ness actually isn’t in Nice?! The goddamn tour agency didn’t even properly tell this old man about it.”
Xu Tingsheng was doubly shocked by this outburst of his. Firstly, it was because the phrases the father had used to scold his son with all seemed rather inappropriate. Secondly, there actually truly were people who came all the way to Nice to see the Loch Ness monster.
“Actually, maybe coming here really is more worth it. Even if you go to Loch Ness, you actually won’t be able to see any sea monsters there too. There’s also nothing else really worth seeing,” Xu Tingsheng tried to calm this old bro down.
In the end, after hearing his words, the father slapped his son again, exclaiming, “Ya hear that? What sea monsters? Look at all these big…sisters, aunties…how great is that? Go on, get lost and get to taking photos for this old man.”
Xu Tingsheng felt bemused.
The man continued instructing his son, “Remember, shoot those who’re wearing less. It’s even better if they’re wearing nothing. Go, go go!”
Then, camera in hand, the kid actually set off on his mission for real.
Xu Tingsheng regained his wits as he enquired, “Old bro, this, isn’t really very good?”
The man dismissed this with a nonchalant wave of his hand, laughing loudly, “It surely wouldn’t be good if we went. But a kid, six years old-what can they do to him? Hey, if anyone asks later, neither of us recognises my son, yeah? Remember that.”
It had to be said that Xu Tingsheng again felt that he really made a lot of sense.
The kid was truly going around very earnestly and diligently in taking photos. The women whose shots were taken mostly paid him no concern. From time to time, someone not wearing anything on top would just reach out and shield her important portions, not raising any voice of complaint.
A long time passed before someone finally asked in English, “Whose child is this?”
The man asked Xu Tingsheng, “Can you understand what she said?”
Xu Tingsheng said, “I can.”
“What did she say?”
“She asked whose child this is.”
“Pretend that you don’t understand.”
The man did not even look at his son as he continued admiring the ‘scenery’ of the beach while chatting with Xu Tingsheng.
“Right, young bro. Which tour agency did you come with?” He asked.
“I came here on my own,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Oh, great, huh. Being cultured is good. Unlike me, not understanding foreign languages. I came here with a tour group of over forty people.”
“Then, how are you…” Xu Tingsheng scanned the area and saw no other Chinese in the vicinity. What he meant was-where’s your tour group?
“I escaped out here alone with my child,” The man said in a very casual manner, “Being together with them is really meaningless. Getting on the bus, getting off the bus, going to the toilet, taking photographs.”
Xu Tingsheng was stunned by this. Meeting such a wilful tourist in his group…how unlucky must this tour guide be?
“This…isn’t really good? What if the tour guide can’t find you…and you also don’t understand the language here,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“What’s so bad about that? There’s nothing to worry about. Don’t you be like those other people, getting scared and downed into obedience to death just with a few lines by the tour guide. Hey, if they really lose we father and son here in France, who should be more scared? I’ll just stay here with my son for a couple of days more at most. In the meantime, the tour agency will be freaking tearing-their-hair-out mad, right? So, I can just play what I want. If I can’t find my way back after this, I can just wait for the tour guide to come find me.”
Xu Tingsheng was already convinced by him. This guy…made so much sense. With his valiant philosophy of living, his life was one that should be very fun and satisfying indeed.