A few times a week David and I go to his parents for dinner.
We leave Dafen and cross two footbridges, a plaza, a government center, a metro station, and walk up a steep hill to arrive at his parents flat.
Between the time walking, there are miniaturized vans aligning the sidewalks.
I say miniature because in the US a van is much bigger than this work van.
Even though the van is much smaller than what we would consider a van, these vans are utilitarian, they contain everything a person needs for getting by, day-to-day. In the front seat they even watch a teevee.
Walking to David’s parents these plumbers will be cooking dinner.
By the time we’re walking home from David’s parents these plumbers will have finished showering and be sitting around talking.
The people inhabiting the vans are plumbers with their wives. They park alongside the sidewalks in the evening and cook their meal, have a shower, wash their clothes, listen to the radio, and then sit around remarking about the day.
Dinner: They take out a little gas burner attached to a propane tank and begin heating the dinner.
Water: They open the nearby fire hydrant for water or bring their own, water for cooking and for bathing. Walking home we’ll see the women with towels wrapped around their heads.
These plumbers park near palm trees so they can attach a line to hang wet clothes they’ve just washed.
Usually in front of the vans are little altars with three or more incense burning. David tells me it’s to thank the village Gods and to keep them safe in the area.
Very few children are present.
David says this is just a way for the plumbers to save money and they do in fact have a home to return to.