Preparing for the worst!!!

Regardless of where you decide to build you will need to pay careful attention to what can go wrong. Whether it is space limitations in a town or city, the gradient on a hillside, the threat of water near a water source or in a flood zone, or simple access to your land, you need to do some research. If like us you want to be an island in a sea of green during the growing season you have your work cut out for you.

In short you’ll need to buildup your land above flood levels. Find someway to secure your land, and access to it, without infringing on your neighbors land and ability to farm rice. Custom dictates you leave your land to “settle” anywhere from 3 to 5 years. Build too soon and no telling what will end up where.

In our case we just built up the land last year and added an additional foot of topsoil this year. Instead of following the local “rule of thumb” we opted for pilings. Locally nobody has used pilings before so it added to the shock factor already created by the rock wall and location. Could have gotten by with six meters but went for eight and all but a few went all the way down.

For me, I figure the prep-work is done and we are ready to build. Then the wife informs me that the locals might not be happy, if we don’t have the requisite blessings and ceremonies. Now, understand, she is very good at keeping these things to a minimum so I don’t balk all that much. She usually makes do with one solitary monk or local witch-doctor and not the typical party environment with booze and music. It still takes her mother and a relative or two a whole day to make preparations for even the most insignificant of rituals.

I was told that since we had dirt from more than one source we had to be extra careful to placate to spirits of the different sources. I’m sure there are some who will take exception to my tone on the subject of local customs but I’m the first to admit that I have never had much need for all forms of magic, gods, spirits or superstitions and the requisite rituals and ceremonies. Not that I don’t understand that they serve a social function, especially in a place like this, where people often feel helpless and at the mercy of things beyond their understanding.

My take is along the lines of, even if I could bring myself to believe in any of this superstitious mumbo jumbo, I would never be so vain as to believe that I had the power to influence any of it and make it do my bidding. My wife obviously has a slightly different take on the subject being Thai! It doesn’t seem to be an issue with us, however. Neither one of us is into validating our beliefs by trying to convince others to have the same beliefs. It is a complicated world and there is never just one side to anything and that is OK with me.

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