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Showing posts from January, 2008

Living in shit

The last two years I have spent a few weeks in Europe. Each time, I decided to plan my train and bus rides overnight, so I didn't have to fork out the cash for an extra night in a hotel. This resulted in me sleeping on benches in train and bus stations as well as during the actual bus or train rides. I usually had to check out of where I was staying in the late morning, so I had to find somewhere to go until the afternoon of the next day. For a posh Westerner such as myself, it was a different experience. The main issue, I found, was finding somewhere to go to the bathroom. It was an event. I had to find a somewhat clean, somewhat private, place to handle my business. Back home, I certainly took such places for granted.

Mike Davis' Planet of Slums has a subsection in the chapter Slum Ecology entitled Living in Shit. [pg. 137-142] He discusses the "excremental surplus" that plagues urban areas with great detail. This is not a new problem, of course, as slums in London …