Weird As Hell Realities Of Living In These Major Cities
At a certain level, major cities start to feel the same: congestion, pollution, noise, "Dear, God, what's that smell?" and the like. We've all been there. But for all the similarities, some cities have bizarre problems that are uniquely their own. Look at how ...
Dhaka Has Killer Sewers
Dhaka is the biggest city you probably don't think or hear about much. It's the capital of Bangladesh, and with a population of nearly 9 million packed into 118 square miles, it's the most densely populated city in the world. This has led to some hellish problems, such as being too crowded for the dead. There's no room for new burials, so they stack new burials on top of old ones (without telling the deceased's family) like a morbid version of Jenga. But what really makes life rough is monsoon season.
All of South Asia gets intense monsoons, and with them comes the obvious problem of flooding, but Dhaka also has to deal with having a tiny drainage basin. That might not sound that bad until you think about what kind of water runs beneath a city: sewage.
During the monsoon season, the city basically becomes a flushing toilet bowl, as sewers turn into swirling vortexes of shit that can actually suck people in. In 2008, the city suffered a rough wet season and dispatched seven workers to fix the sewers. Normally they'd use ropes for safety, but this crew was new and inexperienced. The surging water sucked them down, killing four and seriously injuring three. A common sight is people waste-deep in shit-water scooping it out by hand to help the city drain. The situation is so frequent that the main newspaper runs sadly resigned headlines like "Dhaka Underwater Again" and "It's The Same Old Story."
There's A Floating City Inside Lagos
With about 200 million people, Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in the world. Lagos, its largest city, is a sprawling megalopolis that's exploded in population over the last few decades. Like any major city, it has slums. Less usual, however, is how the Makoko slums of Lagos float on the Lagos Lagoon. It's like a monkey's paw wish for waterfront property.
Estimates have anywhere between 85,000 and 100,000 people living on the water. It's how they make their living. While the slum has its roots in the 19th century, it grew due to people collecting sand and dirt from the lagoon to sell to the city for use in urban development. Living in hastily thrown-together floating communities built on stilts, Makoko is kind of a preview of what parts of Miami and New Orleans will probably resemble after climate change does its final teabagging on coastal cities.
The city government isn't exactly thrilled with this DIY Waterworld. Makoko raises ire in particular because it's so centrally located. You see if flying into the airport or driving over Lagos' main bridge. They want to get rid of it, but instead of, say, helping the people get education, jobs, or housing, the government routinely sends in armed men -- most recently wielding machete -- to destroy the slum.
Apartments In Hong Kong Are Tiny Hell
Hong Kong is a world-class center for finance, and as such, it's a fabulously wealthy city. But despite whatever garbage fantasies some billionaire tried to sell you, economics don't really trickle down. A testament to that would be Hong Kong's poor living in rooms that are literally the size of a closet. If they can get a room at all.
Part of the problem is that there are simply not enough homes and apartments available to sustain the population. High demand plus low supply equals the rent being higher than in San Francisco, New York, and London, for which you get about half the space. Couple that with one in five people living in poverty and a minimum wage under $5 an hour, and Hong Kong produces housing conditions that make the basement apartment in Parasite look like a mansion.
And the problem is only going to get worse, as good education no longer results in higher incomes and the wages for the poor are stagnant. To avoid living on the street, many live in one of the numerous illegally subdivided apartments across the city that offer fewer square feet per person than a bathroom stall. As there are no windows or ventilation, the tenants ironically call these living spaces "coffin cubicles." Which doesn't really fit, since you could actually lie down to sleep in a coffin. (Rent In Peace.)
Kuwait City Is The Hottest Place On Earth
Lots of cities have bad weather. Houston's humidity basically makes the air edible, and Chicago might as well be located in Antarctica's taint during the winter. But no one's got it as bad as the residents of Kuwait City, which is literally the hottest place on Earth.
The city's 2.4 million people live in an oven. In 2016, the city hit a record high of 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit (54 Celsius). Now couple that with that fact that 70% of the population consists of poor migrant workers, and you have the plot for a very heavy-handed YA dystopian novel. The rich recline in air-conditioned splendor, while the poor boil in their own skin working shitty construction jobs. Guardian journalists reporting on the city's conditions witnessed construction workers toiling in 117-degree heat, swinging from scaffolding to install air conditioners, because the heat even had the concept of irony feeling sweaty and exhausted.
Kuwait City has taken some steps to help the situation, chiefly banning outdoor work between noon and 4 p.m., but the workers ignore that, since they won't get paid for that downtime. And compounding the situation is the people in charge not giving a steaming shit about climate change. Oil made the city rich, and they don't have plans to go green in the desert. A man in the climate change division at the Kuwaiti EPA joked that they're prepared for the future -- "We have air conditioning everywhere!"
Hyena Packs Are Roaming Addis Ababa And Eating People
Ethiopia has grown tremendously in the past few decades, and the capital, Addis Ababa, has bloomed with commerce and industry.
But between those skyscrapers lurks one of the world's greatest predators, living right alongside humans. And it's not a friendly co-existence. Packs of hyenas have decided to turn the city into Harley Quinn's happy place. A guard at the British embassy once saw 40 of them prowling along the fence, while a journalist witnessed a pack scavenging a dump next to a soccer field as a group of teenagers strolled by. When garbage isn't enough, they dig up the cemeteries to eat the dead with jaws that are as strong a great white shark's.
But it's not just the dead they're chowing down on. One woman had her baby snatched from her arms right outside a downtown church. The hyenas are also treating the city homeless population as an all-you-can-eat buffet. A clinic volunteer recounted how he treats people who've had their limbs gnawed off during the night on a monthly basis.
While the problems are more pronounced for the impoverished, the well-to-do aren't free from attack. Dens spring up in the nicest areas of the city, with one even appearing behind the U.S. embassy. In 2011, the airport had to call in hunters to kill a pack that were threatening landing planes. The city eventually had to organize a cull, with armed guards going through the downtown area killing any hyenas they could find. You know your problem is out of control when your best solution is The Purge.
For more, check out Why Airbnb Is Terrible - Cracked Explains:
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