For years the “slum” motel of Mrs. Nam Xu in Thanh Xuan Nam Ward, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi has been home to many migrants whose income comes from selling fruits, toothpicks and lottery tickets as well as polishing shoes and other activities.
On an area of less than 50m2, Nam Xu built 20 motel rooms. The largest rooms are only about 5m2. The others are only about 1.2m wide, 2m length and 1.4m high.
Many people cannot believe that there are such motel rooms in Hanoi, which are always dark and wet even during summer. The walls are mossy and the smell of sewage is strong.
The price for these rooms range VND300,000-VND400,000 ($15-$20)/month.
The landlord said all rooms were always occupied, with two people to a room.
Ms. Mai, a tenant from Thanh Hoa province, who has been her for three years, said: “With an income of several tens of thousands dong (several USD) a day, we can’t afford better rooms.”
In the motel room with a width of only 1.2m and the height of 1.4m, tenants have to lie on their side.
“Previously, the landlord sold water in cans. Now we can use water and electricity with our own meters. We have to turn on the light all the time. It is warm in winter but in the summer it is very hot and stuffy,” Mai said.
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