When you hear the metallic, slightly creepy jingle of a child’s song playing on the breeze every kid in America knows what to do. Grab some money and follow that sweet sound to the ice cream man.
Here in China they have the same thing but instead of running towards the sound, you try to get away from it as a fast as possible. That’s because the sound isn’t played before the ice cream truck, it’s played by the dirty-water truck.
I have no idea what it is really called but I have seen it in every city we’ve been to. It’s basically a street cleaning truck, but instead of shooting spray into the gutter and following up with a sweep, this truck unleashes a spray of water that can cover two plus lanes of road. If you’re waiting for a bus, or riding your bike, it’s best to get as far away from the road as possible before you are covered in a fine spray.
To my eyes it does no real cleaning, just sprays out a thin layer of water which tramps down any dust. It also makes the whole place smell. Have you ever been outside on a hot and humid day and a rainstorm rolls in for about a minute, and then rolls away again? The storm does nothing for the temperature and just leaves behind a thick, earthy smell. Well, that’s what the dirty water truck does.
And I call it the dirty water truck because all water here is dirty, not just in a foreign bacteria way. Even the native people don’t drink the water without boiling it first. So while the water from the truck isn’t visibly dirty I just imagine bacteria laden water being shot out, coating everything. The worst is when you are eating ice cream, or have some groceries in your hand, and you hear the jingle of the dirty water truck. You know to save your food you have to find shelter fast!
I scream, you scream we all scream for the dirty water truck!
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