Sunday, September 24, 2006
In the ghetto
Yes I live in the ghetto. This is no joke, the yellow house on the figure is actually where I live and the car next to it is my car. The neighbourhood, which is located in South Central, is called West Adams. The racial breakdown is something like 35% blacks 45% hispanic and rest poor USC students that couldn't afford anything better.... or like me just naive foreign students that got ripped off. I'm paying like at least 200 dollars a month too much for this place.
But actually its amazing how easily you get used to living here. Although you can't go for walk after dusk, since there's a great chance of being robbed or something worse, it is actually not that bad. People are really open, they'll great you out in the street, and are very willing to engage in any conversations.... although they sometimes speak in spanish. I personally think that they appreciate all students in the neighbourhood, but this neighbourhood used to be alot worse just 10 years ago. Then no students dared to live here and gunshots in the night were a everyday event. Today this area is patroled by the campus-police (as well as the LAPD), which I think the residents here really appreciate.
Although things have improved alot in the past years, this neighbourhood is far from being safe. Almost everyday there are police helicopters flying over my house, and at least once me and Dorte woke up in the middle of the night hearing horrible screaming followed by flashing lights of what was probably the campus police. Another student, a chinese guy I met that lives nearby, also woke up last month to a gunshot and witnessed a gun-fight in his street followed by police sirens. And of course the ice-cream salesmen walking around the neighbourhood with their children melody playing aren't just selling ice-cream... I also thought it was a bit strange to hear these stupid children melodies going past my house at 10pm in the evening.
It's really not that bad living here, in some sense its only cool to be here. Its here or close by where a bunch of cool rappers and mucisians grew up. Its probably also just healthy to be exposed to the fact that alot of people have to struggle through life everyday. Not everybody is as lucky as I am, I have an education and a health insurance, something that many people here don't. Anyways, I think I'll be moving in february as soon as my lease runs out....
Have a good one.