Although Huang Xuan didn't have much time, it was not so little that he couldn't even make time for business. The 10 tons of wheat and rice, and tens of kilograms of spice that Rolin had unloaded at the port caused fierce competition between the Dutch and the Spanish.
To cool both sides down and to spread the news among other captains, Huang Xuan decided to transact early the next morning. The price was settled at 30 reales or 10 florins for 1000 pounds. Marine products like the whale could be traded for grains. Florins were gold coins. There were 110 ounces of gold to 5,500 florins. According to the present price of gold, each florin was worth about $6, which meant that the price of grains was ¥0.2 per kg.
It seemed that Huang Xuan was at a disadvantage. However, considering the inflation, the price was actually very high. If he hadn't been at the desolate Arctic Circle, he would have made a fortune with these grains. But "contentment brings happiness", Huang Xuan appreciated that he hadn't been sent to some Indian jungle. He wished there would have been fewer freaks and plane data in big plane age.
The grains Huang Xuan had brought weighed 3.3 million pounds in total, worth 33,000 florins, a big fortune that was enough to organize a fleet. The quality cane sugar he had brought tasted and looked much better than that consumed by the Europeans at the time.
Huang Xuan put up a stand at Green Bay. Behind him was a warehouse with a volume of hundreds of cubic meters; before him was placed rice, wheat, spice, and cane sugar.
The governor seemed busy and didn't come. Juan stood behind Huang Xuan, looking interested. As if the Dutch of the East India Company had all stayed at home, only some sailors passing by looked at Huang Xuan's stand and inquired about the prices occasionally, but then all left when they heard the minimum required purchase amount was 1,000 pounds.
A sailor had to risk his own life and spend three months on a filthy ocean-going ship to earn 20 florins. Plus, nobody could consume 1,000 pounds of wheat all by themselves. Thus, Huang Xuan sat all morning by the warehouse, but he wasn't frustrated. He had figured out the afternoon before that as long as the price was right, the profits-pursuing captains didn't care about whether they take blubber or grains to Europe. They got to sell the blubber and the other parts of the whale that had been treated like garbage for a price the same as in Europe, and meanwhile, and purchase a large batch of grains, by which, they made two fortunes; they would smile in their dreams.
However, Juan didn't think so. "Mr. Phillip, I would like to buy all your grains at the price of 18 florins for 1,000 pounds. Will you consider it?"
"But you will defer the payment," Huang Xuan shrugged his shoulders. "I need cash."
Deferred payment was devised by the Dutch. That mercantilist nation had also invented letter of credit and developed modern banking, by which, they had made the whole Europe willing to transfer their wealth to Amsterdam and then used the wealth to invest.
Now, the Spanish learned the same approach, but Huang Xuan declined. Plane travelers couldn't bear deferral.
Juan seemed upset. He spent two hours explaining why deferred payment didn't affect income. But Huang Xuan wasn't convinced since he had been used to Rolin's chatter. He insisted on cash while Juan had little on him.
"In this way, you won't sell any. You know nothing about business! Nothing!" seeing another dirty sailor walk away, Juan said angrily.
"Say whatever you want." Huang Xuan decided to skip the meal. He sat there with his legs crossed, squinting and waiting for his next customer.
The sunshine in Svalbard was bright and soft, very comfortable. Standing in the sunshine in 3℃ or 4℃, one would feel very warm.
Huang Xuan was calm. Compared to him, Juan was more of a merchant whose commodities wouldn't sell. In the afternoon, Huang Xuan's first real customer came.
Gonard, a Dutch captain, had an old four-masted bark. Just like most of the Dutch businessmen, he caught whales and cod for a living and occasionally transported goods. Later that morning, his second mate had told him that a Spanish man was selling wheat and purchasing the entire whale or the carved parts at the ⅛ price of the blubber. Hearing this, he and his chief mate laughed. "Who would be so stupid?" they said. But in the afternoon, he decided to check it out.
Gonard's boat had encountered some drifting ice when it had sailed into the port. Although the keel had been fine, it still had needed repairing. The sailors had all gone to Longyearbyen for a drink, while he had chosen to stay with the repairmen. Since the ridiculous Spanish man hadn't left, he wanted to check out the most stupid guy in the Northern hemisphere.
"Where did you get this wheat? Paris?" Gonard chuckled while saying this, showing his half-missing front teeth.
Gonard was wearing a tight captain uniform, which wasn't gorgeous but clean. On the boat without fresh water, being clean was a privilege.
"He looks like someone who can afford this wheat." Huang Xuan grabbed a handful of wheat and spilled it in front of himself. "10 florins or 30 Riyals for 1,000 pounds."
The captain rubbed the grains casually and threw one into his mouth. "It has just become ripe. Did you really transport it from Europe?" said he to Juan after chewing. Due to the born sense of superiority of the white race, he thought the Spanish guy was the seller, as for Huang Xuan, maybe a slave.
"I just want to sell it," answered the "slave". Gonard felt even more curious. He took one more grain and asked, "Are these grains yours? How many do you have?"
"Of course they are mine." Huang Xuan took off his hat, showing his black hair in a crew cut. "I can sell you 20,000 pounds." 20,000 pounds was about 10 tons, which could fill the entire warehouse behind him.
Gonard didn't respond at once. He spread the grains and looked carefully. "I've heard that you are willing to buy the whale at the price of the blubber. Is that true?"
"If it is other part of the whale, I will trade the wheat or rice. I don't have enough cash on me."
"If all your wheat is as good as this, let's talk about the price."
The real is divided into ½, ¼, or ⅛ for change, from which other measures have derived from. Thus, nowadays, the smallest unit at London Stock Exchange is ⅛, not 1/10.