Chapter 183: My Profession is Zombie King 15
“Why is there a power outage? How can we live with power outages on such days!”
“That’s right. After today’s power outage, my grandson cried because he was too hot. Adults can handle it, but what about children? They’ll starve to death!”
When Jiang and the others arrived at the power supply bureau, there was already a group of people surrounding the bureau, demanding an explanation from the staff.
“If we could, we wouldn’t want a power outage either. It’s not like only your household has elderly people and children.” Perhaps fearing a riot, the iron gate of the power supply bureau was locked, and the employees inside were comforting the people outside.
“The notice from the municipal bureau has come down. From now on, the southern district will have power from 10 am to 4 pm, and the northern district will have power from 12 pm to 6 pm. If there are any changes, we will notify you separately.”
The deputy director of the power supply bureau held a loudspeaker inside and said, “This is already the limit that the power supply bureau can do. No matter how much you protest, we can’t do anything about it. We don’t have the conditions to build a wind power station here. Besides, all types of power generation, including thermal, nuclear, or hydropower, fundamentally depend on water. The surface water is becoming less and less now, and we can do nothing about it.”
These days, the deputy director was so worried that he was losing his hair over work and family matters.
After today’s power outage, his grandson was only eight months old and suffered from a heat stroke. His tiny body was burning hot, but the hospital was not operating normally. He had to use his connections to find a paediatrician to help his grandson.
Now he has arranged for his grandson and daughter-in-law to stay in his office, taking advantage of his position to turn on the air conditioning. But he also knows that this is not a long-term solution and that using public resources for personal reasons will inevitably lead to resentment from his subordinates in the current situation of tight electricity supply in the city.
Feeling helpless, he had a blistering mouth, and he didn’t know when he would calm down.
“What can we do now?”
“There is no way out!”
“This shortage of food and power outages is really driving people to their deaths.”
Even the deputy director of the power supply bureau said so, indicating this was the outcome. But with only six hours of electricity supply per day, what would happen during the remaining 18 hours?
What particularly alarmed everyone was the message revealed in the deputy director’s words – water.
Due to the water shortage, the power supply bureau has started to limit electricity usage. But what about the water supply plant? Will it stop supplying water because the water in the reservoir has evaporated and there is no new rainfall?
Power outages can be endured, but people will die without water. Thinking of this, everyone forgot about demanding answers from the power supply bureau and hurried back home to gather all containers to store water. They must fill up as much water as possible before the water supply plant stops supplying water.
“Village head, what should we do?”
They came to the city to inquire about the power outage and now heard reliable news. It’s pointless to squeeze in and ask the power supply bureau’s staff for information.
“Go to Sufang Street.”
Li Dong thought of the words of the deputy bureau chief and casually replied.
So the group changed direction and went to Sufang Street.
“Solar generators, with air conditioning and other household appliances, installation and tutorials included.”
“Diesel generators, high-power and low-power models, free ten kilograms of diesel fuel upon purchase.”
As soon as they entered Sufang Street, the people from Hao’an Village heard the high-pitched voices of the loudspeakers.
“Solar-powered generator, great stuff!”
Li Dong’s eyes lit up immediately. He had forgotten about this. Even though there were now three suns in the sky, the shortage of water resources meant that thermal power plants could not provide sufficient electricity. However, solar energy resources had become abundant because there were now more suns. If he bought a solar-powered generator now, did it mean that his home would not have to worry about power outages in the future?
On the other hand, diesel generators had never been in Li Dong’s consideration. As the name suggests, diesel generators run on diesel. Nowadays, diesel is as precious as food, and only a fool would abandon solar-powered generators and choose diesel generators.
Anyone with a brain would have the same idea as Li Dong. Therefore, several people were still standing before the solar-powered generator booth. At the same time, no one was interested in the diesel generator, even with the promotion of ten kilograms of diesel.
“Look at the power. If you want a solar-powered generator that can power an air conditioner, the fixed price is 1,000 kilograms of food. If you only want a solar-powered generator that can power small appliances like electric cookers and fans, the fixed price is 180 kilograms of food.”
Before Li Dong and his group arrived, someone asked about the generator’s price. The well-dressed man, who still looked decent before the arrival of the mutation, spoke firmly.
“A thousand kilograms of food, isn’t this robbery?”
Li Dong heard this and couldn’t help but exclaim.
Before the apocalypse, a solar-powered generator that could power an air conditioner cost only 10-20,000 yuan, while cheaper ones could be purchased for four or five thousand yuan. Now that food is so expensive, and money is worthless, even 20,000 yuan won’t buy you ten jin of rice.
“That’s not true. Grain is valuable. Does electricity not have value? Sir, do you have children or elderly people in your family? We young people can withstand the hot weather, but the elderly and children cannot. That’s why I think this price is worth it.”
The man stood firm on the price.
“It’s too expensive.”
The people from the village whispered among themselves. Of course, they were envious of the solar-powered generator. If they could install one in their homes, they wouldn’t have to worry about power outages in the future. However, the price was too high. Although they had listened to the village chief Li Dong’s advice and hadn’t sold the grain and sweet potatoes they harvested last fall, and earlier this year, each household had at most two or three thousand jin of grain. It was unrealistic for them to spend almost half their savings buying a solar-powered generator.
Moreover, the power station said they would provide six hours of electricity every day in the future. They could endure it for a while. Compared to the pain of heat, the grain that could sustain them for a more extended period was more important.
“Here’s what I’ll do. Give me your phone number.”
Li Dong asked the person selling the solar-powered generator for a phone number. He thought this was probably not the lowest price, and besides, buying a generator was a big deal, and everyone should go home and talk to their families about it.
The man didn’t refuse and generously gave Li Dong a business card when he saw that Li Dong and his companions were all strong and well-built, unlike people who had experienced hunger. It seemed that their families had some food reserves.
Afterwards, Li Dong and his group strolled along Sufang Street in teams of two or three, buying what they needed.
There weren’t many shops on this street, but many people were selling goods on both sides. Most of these people were residents of the county town who didn’t have enough food reserves at home, so they brought some items from their homes to exchange for food.
There were many things on this street, such as fur coats worth tens of thousands of yuan, brand-name watches and jewellery, and precious figurines. Unfortunately, most of them were not popular.
However, one of the people who accompanied Jiang Liu couldn’t resist the temptation and spent ten jin of rice on buying a jade Buddha. This jade Buddha was worth at least several hundred thousand yuan in peacetime, and all the certificates were complete, so it should not be fake.
Because one person bought a jade Buddha, many men who came with them were also tempted. They stared at the big gold chains and name-brand watches, wanting to buy one for themselves. It was only after Li Dong scolded them in anger that they were suppressed.
“I have to go buy some salt. I have to slaughter my pig at home.”
The one who spoke was Yang Sanhan from the village. He raised five pigs at home, feeding them not with fodder but with his carefully formulated pig feed. The pigs were all very strong and fat.
He was skilled at raising pigs; every year, his pigs were pre-ordered as soon as he started raising them. The meat of his pigs was fragrant and different from the meat of commercially grown pigs fed hormones. It had an unexpectedly good taste. Regular pork sells for over ten yuan per kilogram, while pork from locally-raised pigs sells for around twenty yuan per kilogram. But the pork from his pigs was even more expensive, fetching nearly forty yuan per kilogram, almost twice the market price.
Originally, Yang Sanhan’s five pigs had to be raised for another two months before being sold, but now it’s impossible. The weather is too hot, and the pigs have no appetite for food. Their visible fat and meat have decreased significantly. In addition, due to the pig feed, the plants have withered under the sun, and even fresh and tender pig grass cannot be found. Yang Sanhan can only reluctantly have the five pigs that have not yet been raised for slaughter.
“Sanhan, do you sell your pork? I want to buy half a slab of pork chops and two pork hind legs. Do you accept grain or salt as payment?”
There is no shortage of frozen pork in the market, but the taste of those pigs is not as good as that of the local pigs raised by Yang Sanhan. After arriving at Hao’an village, Jiang Liu hears many rumours about Yang Sanhan’s pigs, but he has never tasted them.
Besides, there is also a greedy girl at home. It would be a pity not to buy such good pork.
“Do you have salt?”
Yang Sanhan’s eyes lit up. He didn’t plan to sell all the pork but wanted to sell a part of it and keep some for himself. After all, he didn’t know if anyone else would raise pigs or chickens in the future, so he needed to keep some meat to satisfy his hunger and supplement his physical strength.
Therefore, salt was essential, and Yang Sanhan came for salt this time.
“Yes, my grandmother stored a lot of salt in 2011.”
Jiang Liu smiled, “But it’s all coarse salt, not good for cooking, but it’s great for pickling meat.”
“Oh, that’s right. Aunt Jiang also stored a lot of salt back then. Your mother and grandmother argued about it for a long time.”
Jiang Liu’s reminder brought back memories of that old event, but they couldn’t remember exactly how much salt the Jiang family had stored. They initially thought that after Jiang Qu had an accident, Jiang Liu’s mother had disposed of everything in the house, but they didn’t expect the salt to be there still.
The people present were envious. Aunt Jiang was not confused at all. She was extremely forward-thinking. Although no one knew how much salt she had stored, with just these salts, Jiang Liu could exchange for many things.
“Okay, ten pounds of coarse salt for one pound of meat.”
Yang Sanhan gritted his teeth and set the price. The meat was now a luxury, but people could not live without salt. When he said these words, Yang Sanhan was still a little uneasy.
“Okay, that’s settled. Uncle San, I’ll come to your house to help when you slaughter the pig.”
Aunt Jiang had stored at least nearly a thousand pounds of coarse salt, and the price set by Yang Sanhan was within Jiang Liu’s acceptable range.
“In the future, if anyone runs out of salt, you can come to my house to exchange it. One pound of coarse salt for three pounds of grain, whether rice, potato starch, or cornmeal.”
Jiang Liu’s exchange rate was very favourable. Although coarse salt couldn’t compare to fine salt in cooking, it wasn’t much worse.
“Go see if the seasoning store is open. I still need to buy some bok choy, clove powder, chilli powder, and five-spice powder.”
They felt less worried when the villagers heard that Jiang Liu was willing to exchange salt for grain. The price was fair and within the villagers’ range, but storing food required more than salt.
For example, pork could be made into bone scrap or oil-brined meat, stored for one or two years and tasted better than regular salted meat. However, it required more spices, and they didn’t know if these spices were cheap now.
Three hours after leaving the village, almost all the grains the villagers brought were exchanged for other goods. A group of people with new harvests rode their bicycles towards the direction of the village.
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