Welcome to My Treehouse, We Have Fun and Games

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Shanghai-ed!
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When I returned to Shanghai I had always been planning to spend my first small while living with my friend Du Jiachen in the small upstairs space of his apartment in the French Concession. It’s gorgeous, one of the few parts of town not either completely run down or covered in tawdry lights as if some leviathan, neon god from Joel Schumacher’s nightmares had bent down and sneezed all over the place. (Although I must admit I do find these lights appealing, even if gaudy. What can I say? I’m a sucker for pretty colors.)

I never originally intended to take him up on his offer to make that place my home, however. Even tempted by the idea of a cheap and ready apartment in the heart of my favorite neighborhood, I thought for certain I would find the lack of a (functional) kitchen and the need to leave the apartment in order to make my way to the public restroom too inconvenient to put up with. When I showed up at his front door a couple of nights after my arrival and he handed me the keys and left on a business trip into the North, however, the place began to grow on me immediately. Anybody thinking of joining me here in Shanghai should let me know ahead of time so I can get a guest-friendly place set up, but until such time I believe I’ve found my digs in the Pearl of the Orient. For a quick tour, follow the thumbnails from left to right. You can also just click the first one and follow along in a sort of slideshow format.

Well, there you have it, my lovely home for the time being. And the best part? I only have to pay 800CNY, (125USD), per month for the place. Now, for as small as it is and for the lack of kitchen/restroom I could actually find MUCH cheaper in Shanghai, but certainly not in this part of town. And quite frankly, if you’re not living in the French Concession then you might as well just die.

Well, okay, perhaps you could find justification to go on living. But there’s a good reason so many foreigners choose to live here. It is by far and away the most beautiful part of town. It’s also immediately adjacent to the primary clubbing district and several enormous commercial districts. Oh, and I live a few blocks away from JZClub, possibly the greatest jazz bar for the money in the entire world. How’s that for snoot factor?

  1. jacob lindaman says:

    That is fucking intense.

    • Trevor Smith says:

      Ha, it’s a fun little place. I just hate that damn ladder. It’s designed for little Chinese people. I crack my head on something every other time I climb the thing…

  2. dad says:

    Well … at least you will be prepared when the U.S. becomes another 3 world country. No culture shock for you.

    • Trevor Smith says:

      It is said that ‘one should strive for elegance rather than luxury’. I keep my personal room clean enough despite the general grunge of the rest of the place. I have all the space I need. I have heat and AC, electricity and wireless internet. I live better than kings of antiquity and I do so at no great personal expense, and it is also said that ‘we work jobs we hate for shit we don’t need.’ (That’s actually a quote from Fight Club, though it may as well be from the Transcendentalist movement).

      Here’s the funny part: we can’t let Jiachen’s landlord know I’m living here because he thinks someone living upstairs will ‘lower the property value’. HA HA HA HA HAAAAA! Oh… Seriously, though, I’m going out tomorrow to look for a hammer and nails so I can patch up holes in the walls before it gets any cooler.

  3. mom says:

    I honestly don’t know how you can do this……

    • Trevor Smith says:

      At the risk of sounding snooty for having lived elsewhere, I’ll point out that Americans have a very irrational fear of even slightly lowered living standards. I’m sure you’d surprise yourself.

  4. Kirby says:

    Before it burned down last weekend a place just like this in Iowa City rented for $375/mo. You got a great deal! But just to be safe, get a rope ladder so you can egress via the balcony in an emergency!

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