Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 124: Appear
Located next to Dianchi Lake, it didn’t take long for the taxi driver to bring them to the hotel. Looking out the window along the way, there were green mountains and clear waters making them feel happy and relaxed. The picturesque landscape was completed by the day’s bright blue sky and fluffy clouds drifting in the light breeze. Getting out of the car, Zhang Siyi took a deep breath filling up his chest and then releasing it. He said: “Ah, fresh air! Ah, fresh air! So good!”
Squinting his eyes in the bright sun, Tao Fei said with emotion: “If the environment everywhere else was as good as it is here, then people would stop going abroad.”
After the luggage was removed from the trunk, the taxi left. Leaving the surrounding forest and lakes, the two walked inside the hotel to check-in. Inside the lobby, there was a fountain and many decorative motifs that perfectly integrated the exterior landscape into the interior space giving the hotel a romantic feeling. The elegance was enhanced by the butterfly motifs tastefully incorporated into the scenery of the interior.
Along the way to their room, Zhang Siyi make sure to take a few photos with his camera. The room was very large with all the luxurious amenities including a balcony that overlooked the lake.
Putting down his bag, Zhang Siyi walked out onto the balcony to take a few beautiful pictures of the lake. He secretly sent Gu Yu a message: “We are at the hotel!”
Immediately, Gu Yu replied: “Which hotel?”
Zhang Siyi: “Intercontinental Hotel in Kunming.” Afraid of any backlash form Gu Yu, he hurriedly added: “Tao Fei picked it out.” (&_&)
Gu Yu: “It’s very good.”
Seeing that Gu Yu didn’t have any negative remarks about it, Zhang Siyi breathed a sigh of relief and asked: “What are you doing? Did you eat yet?”
Gu Yu: “Well, I’ve already eaten. I’m reading a book now.”
Gu Yu: “I miss you by the way.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Suddenly, Tao Fei appeared from behind Zhang Siyi: “What are you doing?”
Quickly putting his phone down, Zhang Siyi’s face was flushed and replied: “Nothing.”
Tao Fei put his arm around Zhang Siyi shoulder and turned him around. While leaning on the balcony with a view of the lake behind them and standing side by side, Tao Fei reached out with his phone: “Let’s take a picture. Smile!”
Being caught of guard by Tao Fei, Zhang Siyi heart was in his throat. Before his brain understood what was going on, he was still in the midst of panic when he heard Tao Fei say smile and heard a ‘click’. Because of what Gu Yu said, he had slightly downcast eyes and looked like he was blushing under the comfort of Tao Fei.
When Tao Fei looked at the image, he couldn’t stop from laughing: “What’s this? You are so shy and It looks like I’m ready to pounce ha-ha-ha!”
Zhang Siyi: “……” You fuck off!
After unpacking their belongings, they went to the concierge to get a taxi. First, they had the taxi drop them off at the city center to eat famous Yunnan Cross-The-Bridge noodle soup.** Then they went to visit the Golden Horse and Jade Rooster Archway. ** While out and about, they were leisurely strolling along the sidewalk talking and taking pictures just as if they were really like tourists out to play.
Coming upon a tea shop, Zhang Siyi couldn’t help himself and went inside to look. As soon as they entered, the enthusiastic man and women approached them and asked them if they wanted to sit and have tea and talk for a while. They also guaranteed that even if they didn’t buy tea, it wouldn’t matter.
Tao Fei wasn’t interested in the tea, but seeing that these two were locals, he wanted to chat with them about local customs so he grabbed Zhang Siyi and sat down.
“Is this your first time coming to Yunnan? Yunnan Pu’er tea is the most famous……”
As the older man introduced one of teas, Zhang Siyi made a polite bow and slightly nodded. He used his mobile phone to search this shop on the internet and compare prices. Seeing that the price of the tea is not outrageous, it is safe for him to enjoy the tea.
Noticing Zhang Siyi’s interest, the older man continued to tell him about the different kinds of tea available. Along with the cooked style of Pu’er tea he was tasting, the older man also prepared a sample of moonlight white, and red tea. Sipping his tea and nibbling on added snacks, Zhang Siyi was feeling really content. He had the urge to buy some tea.
Tao Fei was surprised: “Are you really going to buy some?”
Zhang Siyi: “I think it’s good to drink it.” In fact, he knows how to drink it because of Gu Yu influence. Knowing that Gu Yu and his father love to drink tea, he wanted to buy the tea for them.
Tao Fei bluntly said: “It is too inconvenient right now and this kind of tea is available online.”
The older man immediately responded to Tao Fei’s comment: “Hey, you can’t know for sure the Pu’er tea you buy online is really Pu’er tea. A lot of it is really just saliva tea that they only soak one side of the leaf then press them together making it very bitter. There is none of the mellow flavor of real Pu’er tea.”
As the older man took out a stack of papers, he continued: “Since many visitors to my shop are tourists, it is common to mail home the items purchased. If you don’t want to carry the tea with you, I can help ship it to your final destination. If it’s a gift, I can wrap and package it with a card and send it out for free.”
Since the purchase was without any worry, Zhang Siyi was excited to buy a variety of tea.
Tao Fei was speechless, but since Zhang Siyi was willing to do it, he didn’t stop him.
In the past, Zhang Siyi wouldn’t normally spend a lot of money on unnecessary things, especially a bunch of unknown teas, but now it wasn’t the same. Since he likes Gu Yu, Zhang Siyi was always thinking about ways to make him happy and was willing to spend extra money. Picking out gifts for the person you love made Zhang Siyi feel very happy.
While sipping and eating a snack, Tao Fei talked with the older couple about the areas culture and fun things to do. After spending two hours in the shop, they decided on where they needed to go next: Dali!**
The following day, as suggested, they visited the Expo Park and Haigeng Park. Zhang Siyi made sure to take a lot of photographs. In the evening, they returned to the hotel to check out and went to the train station to travel to Dali by the overnight train. For the first time in Zhang Siyi life, he was traveling by an overnight sleeper-car. In his excitement, he wasn’t able to sleep for most of the night.
Listening to the drone of the wheels on the tracks, ‘chuchk-chuchk-chuchk’, he wrapped himself up in the thin quilt and posted an image of his train ticket for only Gu Yu to see and wrote a note: “I miss you very much. I wish the person besides me was you.”
After arriving in Dali, they took the bus to the ancient part of the city. As suggested by the owner of the tea shop from the previous day, Tao Fei rented an electric car with Zhang Siyi and drove around on a self-drive-tour around Erhai Lake.
Since it was a weekday and people were at work, there was very little traffic on the roads and Tao Fei and Zhang Siyi were able to drive along the lake without worries. Along the way they stopped at Xizhou old town and Zhoucheng village** as well as various points on the roads to take pictures. Deciding to stay at a private inn, they enjoyed he sunset and sunrise of the Erhai Lake. The next day, with a fully charged car, they left the inn and drove back to the southern end of the lake to the bus station.
Previously, Zhang Siyi was apprehensive about going on the business trip with Tao Fei, but now with Tao Fei influence, he shed his reservations and really enjoyed touring the countryside. For the next part of their tour, they took a bus from Dali to Lijing** and stayed at the famous high-end hotel chain called Banyan Tree** which had villas with private pools. At three-thousand per night, the prices were even more outrageous.
With Tao Fei insistence to stay at the best hotels, Zhang Siyi has become numb to such prices. Twice he has proposed other hotels, but Tao Fei always insisted on the best location. In order to feel less anxious about the cost, Zhang Siyi changed his mind set from needing to pay for a room to thinking they were Tao Fei’s pre-paid rooms.
Being influenced by Tao Fei’s spending habits, Zhang Siyi also started to buy things without restraint. Looking around, there were many kinds of novelty products. He originally thought only Kunming sold Pu’er tea and didn’t expect other places to also sell the tea.
When Zhang Siyi received a ‘little fox kiss’ message from Gu Yu that he really liked the tea that he sent, Zhang Siyi felt so happy and excited. As a result, nearly every day when he tasted something good, he bought a small gift and sent the package to Gu Yu.
Noticing Zhang Siyi address the package to Yuanshan Garden yet again, Tao Fei ridiculed him: “How many presents are you going to get Gu Yu?”
Turning red, Zhang Siyi faltered and said: “They aren’t all for him. I’m going to give them away when I get back home.”
Tao Fei looked at him with a broad smile and didn’t press him any further.
For four days, the two traveled to the surrounding heritage sites and tourist attractions like Wuhu, the old town of Shuhe**, and Shangri-La**. Returning to Lijiang, it was already the end of April and near the May holiday and thus, there was a surge of tourists to the area. As a result, when they returned to the Banyan Tree hotel, there were no vacancies. They booked a room at the second most expensive private inn for one night. Tomorrow, they were planning on flying to Xishuangbanna.**
Having visited so many different tourist sites the last few days, the initial excitement of traveling has faded and Zhang Siyi began to feel fatigued and worried: “Our trip is more than half over and we haven’t even started working yet.”
“What’s the hurry? It’s the May holiday.” Tao Fei said while coming out of the bathroom in a towel. Contrary to his image online, Tao Fei went to his bed and picked his toenails.
Zhang Siyi’s eyes twitched. If he didn’t know any better, being in Tao Fei’s shadow these past days traveling would make anyone think they were a couple. All of his photos posted to his social media were beautiful pictures of the both of them!
Lying in bed waiting for Gu Yu’s text message, Zhang Siyi frowned. During the week, Zhang Siyi had been communicating with Gu Yu everyday by sending photos and updating him on the status of the business trip. Normally, he checks for Gu Yu’s messages in the morning and in the evening, but today Zhang Siyi doesn’t know what is going on. Gu Yu hasn’t responded all day.
Quietly, Zhang Siyi moved outside the room to call Gu Yu, but he wasn’t able to connect as the phone went directly to voicemail. He didn’t know what to think. It wasn’t until midnight that Zhang Siyi heard the phone vibrate on the bedside table and received a message from Gu Yu.
Gu Yu: “I am in Lijiang. Where are you? I came to see you.”
Looking at his message, Zhang Siyi cried out: “Eh!”
Since Tao Fei was playing games on his mobile phone, he wasn’t paying attention and thought Zhang Siyi called him: “Yeh?”
As Zhang Siyi typed to Gu Yu, he spoke to Tao Fei: “Gu Yu… Boss Gu is here in Lijiang!”
Tao Fei jumped out of bed instantly: “What?”
Zhang Siyi was also shocked: “I didn’t know if what he was said was true or not. He asked me where we are staying and then he said he is coming to us now.
With a twisted expression of both excitement and fear Tao Fei swore “Fuck!” He quickly opened his social media and scrolled through all the posts and photos of ‘showing love’ he made during the business trip. -Ha-ha-ha, brother! You finally can’t sit still?! Even though tomorrow is the holiday, you couldn’t wait to get here tonight!
Both surprised and happy, Zhang Siyi got out of bed quickly and proclaimed: ”I’m going to go get him.”
Tao Fei waved his hand and looked at him in fascination: “Go ahead.” -Hey-hey-hey! the next few days will be more fun!
Wearing only a pair of hotel slippers, Zhang Siyi impatiently rushed out feeling ecstatic – Why does Gu Yu have to surprise him every time!
Rushing out of the hotel, Zhang Siyi abruptly stopped his momentum and quickly looked for Gu Yu. Seeing him standing on the quiet stone road, an emotional wave of excitement and yearning washed all over him. Any anxiety and sadness from being separated dissolved in an instant. When their eyes met, there was only a moment before they both rushed towards each other to embrace.
T/N: **Cross-The-Bridge Noodle Soup: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing-the-bridge_noodles
Golden Horse and Jade Rooster Archway: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-china-yunnan-province-kunming-golden-horse-and-jade-rooster-archway-23448575.html
Banyan Tree Hotel: https://www.banyantree.com/en/china/lijiang