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I’m living in a Chinese slum. | Your World is Your Home
Home / Countries / China / I’m living in a Chinese slum.

I’m living in a Chinese slum.


I’m living in a Chinese slum now. My room is in a great location, and there are a ton of restaurants nearby. There are a few problems though. The walls are one layer thick of stacked bricks. They keep some of the sound outside. My room comes with a new and strange odor on a biweekly basis. The room has three decrepit desks and two chairs – one is a rat gnawed, shaky wooden chair, the other is a plastic seafoam-green stool that pinches my ass if I don’t wear jeans.  My twin bed came with smelly sheets discarded by the last tenant. My slumlord offered them to me as if they were an amenity. The bed’s headboard is covered in four of the same redbull advertisements. Thanks to that, I now know the faces of the top badminton players in China.  My cloth covered closet prominently displays Micky Mouse going fishing.

 My toilet is mostly a hole in the floor, but luckily I do have a hot water shower. This hot water shower moves my apartment from the low class slum to the middle class slum(not to be confused with middle class chinese who live in much nicer places). Sure, fragments of my baby blue walls are chipping off every day, and sure my only direct light comes from an oversized, high-powered, florescent tube that bleaches everything in its pale light but compared to others, my place is nice.

Welcome to my middle class slum.
Welcome to my slightly better then a tins slum.

 The door, maroon and plywood, is hollow in the middle. The lock doesn’t work that well, but why it should when a good tackle would take anyone through the door. I’ve already been warned not to leave valuables in my room and been told by my slumlord that she isn’t responsible for anything that happens.

To prevent the impact of a break-in I’ve already started transferring key data to a cloud server, I take my computer with me often, and when I don’t ,I hide it behind my bed. So if someone does break-in, the damage should be minor. Hopefully.

Do you think someone will break into my apartment? I am hoping not. I am hoping the fact that I have 20 neighbors within a 10 second walk might detour any would be thieves.

So what do you think? Is living in a slum such a bad idea?

Hey, I’m Eric, is my travel blog. I write this website to show you how easy it is to live, work and travel all around the world. I’ve been traveling almost 8 years now. I’m just about to publish my new book Where the Wind Blows: Traveling around the World on $5 a day

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  1. nice, erik. for how long are you going to live there? all alone? which town is it. be handy and make the best out of it! go go go! 🙂

    • Hey Timo, I’m with Echo in Guangzhou. I am not sure about how long I will be here, it mostly depends on how long I take to get my next job, and where that job is. But I will enjoy it while I can 😀

    • The neighbors, single or families, make from $300 to $500 per month. Guangzhou is a HUGE city, 20 million people, so $300-$500 isn’t really a lot of money. I’m told if I lived in a smaller city, for the $100 I could get a three bedroom place.

  2. “Do you think someone will break into my apartment?” Yes, they will.
    “I am hoping the fact that I have 20 neighbors within a 10 second walk might detour any would be thieves.” Don’t be so naïve. Your far more likely to be robbed by your neighbors than a stranger in China.
    Why are you doing this? Any teaching job will get you a far more livable space.

    • A good point you make about the neighbors. If I wanted a better place I could afford it,I am doing this for the experience. I’ve lived in so many other settings, some worse, many better. Perhaps this is the most insecure, but life isn’t about worrying, it’s about trusting. If someone does rob me I’m sure I’ll learn some valuable lessons. I only have three more weeks in this slum, then I’m off to another place. Where…I am unsure.

  3. What do you hope to learn Eric? What are you looking for? Life is about trusting you say-who or should I say what? Some of your neighbors more than likely will steal from you, others will not. Hiding your stuff probably won’t help for long. In some ways people are the same everywhere. There are good people and there are bad. Stay safe and I really hope your bed doesn’t have bugs-eeeew-lol!

    • I am looking for one of two things. Either how to trust people even more or how to react after a break in. Also it’s not like I have much stuff to lose. Aside from my $200 net book, my kindle and my large pile of notes about my experiences around the world, I have nothing of value in my home.

  4. It is good to trust people who are worthy of trusting. However; there is a need to be cautious around some people. Apparently, you are not materialistic, which I think is commendable. Looking forward to reading more about your experiences in the slum.

  5. Just read your story about San Bernadino’s skid row. Very interesting. Please be careful out there, though I think you may be safer in China than you were in California.

    • 🙂 I will always be careful, but I do love exploring and learning about other cultures. If I lived in a big expensive high rise I would learn about the clouds but know nothing of the ground.

  6. Hey Eric you don’t know me but I am friends with your mom and Sondra! I heard about your blog from Holly and this is the first thing I read of yours. I think it’s awesome that you go and travel and share your experiences with us! I am curious about what it’s like other places. People can take your materials but no one can take the most important thing your experiences and memories those are worth more than anything in this world so I wouldn’t worry about people stealing. I am looking forward to reading your other blogs and see what else you get into 🙂

  7. You are so full of shit dude, the first photo is a REAL slum, but that’s not in China, that’s in India.
    There are not slums in China anymore, there are very poor places and districts for sure, but not as bad and miserable as slums.
    The second photo is legit, I’ve been to China and poorest areas I saw were like the one in your second photo. But still, that’s not a slum and its not a middle class area, that’s a poor/working class area but not a slum at all. I know a lot of people that come from middle class areas in China and they don’t look like that at all, they look way better and live in decent homes. And by the way, there’s not such thing as a “middle class slum” get your shit straight.

    • Mateo, your right about the first photo, its gone now. I was a bit new to blogging when I put it up :).
      There are still plenty of slums in China, just down the road hundreds of people live in tin shanties, which is basically the very definition of a slum. As for middle class slum, I was jesting, suggesting that its not the bottom rung of slums. I am not suggesting that it is in any way part of the middle class of china.

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