Walls, Walls and more Walls


Don’t know what it is but everybody in this village is building walls. The pace of building has really picked up this year. Without any recent crime surge I can only guess that it is for show and because the other guy has one. Nobody really has anything worth stealing anyway but they worry about it none the less. The last time some young novices from the local temple did rip off a local house, everything was recovered from their room at the temple.

Custom dictates that everyone build their houses right next to each-other so they can see, hear and smell everything that goes on next door. (That is actually very good for me because it leaves a lot of open land and unobstructed views.) Now, for some reason, everyone wants their privacy and security. Not that these walls provide much of either. You can still see over them and they are made of that flimsy concrete block they love to use. The only deterrent I can see is the fear of the thing falling on you if you tried to climb over it.

After elevating our little piece of heaven two meters above the rice paddy floor I was struck with an awful thought. Would I be forced to build one of those ugly little walls in a vain attempt to keep nature from reclaiming what is rightfully hers? What I wanted was some sort of angled rock embankment around the sides of the land. Something that wouldn’t block my view, would keep my dirt from running away and wouldn’t be too ugly to look at from the outside. In Hawaii lava rock walls are common and perhaps influenced my thinking. In the end what I got was a compromise and very Thai, even though nobody around here has ever seen such a thing.

Driving down the road one day we spied a back-hoe parked at a house and went to investigate. The owner put us on to a Village Headman who does roads and various construction work. This guy was modern enough in his thinking that he understood what it was I wanted. I probably would have put the concrete down first and laid the stones in the concrete so that you could see the beauty of the rock.

His way was quick and dirty but got the job done, for nearly the same price as the ugly wall. I decided not to push him out of his comfort zone by asking for something he might not be able to do easily. I’m actually quite happy with the results. I got what I paid for, though not what I first envisioned. Life is full of these little compromises that help facilitate getting things done. At least that is what I tell myself.