Mary carefully eases open her front door to avoid squashing her small dog and alarming her pet bird, which starts squawking even before she put the key in the lock.
Her snake is sleeping soundly in the kitchen.
The 70-year-old's menagerie is crammed into the two-bedroom flat in central Hong Kong she shares with her son, a 39-year-old bachelor she affectionately refers to as "my boy."
"Sometimes it's more work being out," she said, mopping up a puddle of dog pee near the kitchen door.
Basic and homely, the flat measures 569 square feet and, according to local property websites, is worth more than HK$5 million ($644,400) to buy, or around HK$20,000 (US$2,577) each month to rent.
"If I didn't buy the flat at the time, I think now, I cannot afford. Because the price goes up, double," said Mary, who would prefer her surname wasn't published. Mary can't remember exactly when she bought it. Maybe she said it was "10, 15 years ago."
On July 1, Hong Kong marks 15 years... Source/Origin >> Read More