Think your apartment is too small? Take a look at this ‘cage home’ in Hanoi

By Ngoc Thanh   July 25, 2017 | 08:09 pm PT
This super-tiny apartment in the heart of the capital has been home to two men for 20 years.

Completely hidden in an alley on Thuoc Bac Street in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem District, the apartment measures only 2.2 square meters (23.7 square feet).


This is where Chu Van Cao, 70, and his twenty-something son have called home for the past 20 years. The old man said it used to be a 16-square-meter apartment before his wife left, leaving him a big debt born from several bad business ventures.


He had no choice but to divide the small apartment up and sell it off piece by piece, keeping only enough space for a bed.


Cao loves reading. He usually borrows books and newspapers from their neighbors. “I used to have a small TV but it took up too much space and used electricity so I sold it,” he said.


“Every generation has its own story. This is all I have, and my son has understood that since he was just a little boy,” Cao said when asked if he and his son have plans to rent a bigger place.


A shelf on the wall that faces the bed. “It’s small but if you know how to keep things in order, it’s good enough,” he said.


This "cage home" lies in an old and downgraded building.


Every morning, Cao walks to his friend's coffee shop to do the cleaning. This is how he earns a living.


Cao always looks happy despite his tough life, his neighbors say. “I’ve met many people who are much poorer and more miserable than me, so I think my life is just average,” he said.

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