“Two thousand yuan,” the shopkeeper said. He saw me recoil—that was nearly two hundred and fifty dollars. “But we can go cheaper,” he added quickly.“You know,” Goettig said to me, “nothing else in here would break if it fell.”He was right—it was all Strange in a strictly solid sense. Why had a jade ship been there in the first place? As a last resort, I hoped that Goettig’s size might discourage violence. He was six feet one and well built, with close-cropped hair and a sharp Germanic nose that the Chinese found striking. But I had never known anybody gentler, and we shuffled meekly toward the door. The men were still standing there. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t think we want to buy anything.”The shopkeeper pointed at the pile of green shards. “Zenmeban?” he said softly. “What are you going to do about this?”Goettig and I conferred, and we decided to start at fifty yuan. He took the bill out of his wallet—the equivalent of six dollars. The shopkeeper accepted it without a word. All the way across the parking lot, I expected to feel a hand on my shoulder. I started the Cherokee, spun the tires, and veered back onto Highway 110. I was still shaking when we reached the city of Zhangjiakou. We pulled over at a truck stop for lunch; I guzzled tea to calm my nerves. The waitress became excited when she learned we were Americans.
Just an incredible story