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Sneaking onto the rooftops of China
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Sneaking onto the rooftops of China



I have invented a new sport. It isn’t much of a sport, but it is fun, and the idea is catching on. We call it “rooftopping”. In China, in a lot of cities, the rooftops are unlocked. So we have made it a sport to find our way into buildings and go to the tops to see the city. Once you are on top, the city falls into a new perspective, massive buildings bow to you, fast cars inch by, grand parks and towering trees become elegant jewelry prettying up the ugly city. The wind shrieks by, the ladders wobble, and your heart ponds. The way up can be easy, or it can be terrifying, but the rewards are always worth it.I am afraid of heights, climbing beyond the 8th rung of a ladder give me chills, but I fight my phobia, or at least try to ease it. I latch my arms onto ladders, I step back from sheer falls, I lower my body when the wind snaps at me. I keep my body extra safe so that my eyes can enjoy the towering views from all over the city.

What better way to explore a new city then to look at it from above.
What better way to explore a new city then to look at it from above.
Echo chilling out 30 stories up.
Echo chilling out 30 stories up.

In Guangzhou, China’s southern Mega City, where upwards of 20,000,000 people live I’ve been rooftoping a lot. I’ve been to just about 50 buildings now. They overlook slums, mansions, parks and landfills, they race with neighbors and tower over century old districts. The tops are unique, some are small and cozy, just perfect for a warm campfire and good friends, others are huge, and stretch into the distance, connecting a dozen buildings and giving us almost enough space to play football.

Skyscrapers in Guangzhou ChinaGetting into the buildings is easy, too easy, I guess rooftopping might be a real sport if the guards presenting any real danger. Getting in is simple:

  1. Find a sky scraper that you like, residential or commercial.
  2. Go in, if it is a residential follow someone into the building, they will swipe their keycard and open the door, you go in right behind them, this is very normal. Sometimes the door will just be left open, if it is, all the better. In commercial buildings the door is open, so just walk in.
  3. You see that guard, the one watching TV on his cell phone, ignore him, if he looks up wave or just keep walking, he has no interest in stopping you.
  4. Go into the elevator, and hit the top floor. In high-end commercial buildings there are sometimes keycards required to get past a turnstile to get to the elevators, if you find one, just talk to the staff tell them you have an interview and they will give you a card.
  5. At the top floor, go left or right and head up the emergency exit, they are never locked, at least not in China, most are also no alarmed. Up on top….explore, enjoy and if you find a ladder, climb, climb climb.
  6. Take a picture, and send it to me 🙂

    On top of the world you can much of what is usually hidden. This is the nail city, a slum in China, I'll be posting a lot about it soon.
    On top of the world you can much of what is usually hidden. This is the nail city, a slum in China, I’ll be posting a lot about it soon.

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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