THANKS and Floods...

It was really nice to hear from some of you. So first of all I want to say THANKS. I seem to get a different level of response depending on where the blog is published and I find the whys for that interesting to contemplate.

Sometimes I think I should change the concept to “How it feels to build a house in a Northern Thai Village.” Most guys seem to be into numbers and specs. That is just how their minds work. They want to know how “big” your dump-truck is, how many cubic meters of this, how many square meters of that, the gauge of the window glass or re-bar, the cost specs, and where to buy what. Some of you have accepted that this is not an instruction manual that I am presenting here. It is more of a window into life in general, away from the bars and nightlife of Thailand, and specifically into my life which is unique in itself.

No two people will ever have the exact same life experience here in Thailand, though you can gain insights by looking at others lives. There are just too many variables at work to follow in somebody else's footsteps. For me an important factor was coming here at such a young age. The opportunities afforded to someone in their twenties are different from those available to someone who discovers Thailand in their fifties or sixties, for example. That is just common sense, but something people often overlook.

Who you are, as a person, will elicit very different responses from the local population as well as where you end up living. Regional differences can be great but even different areas of the same town or city can vary in their livability and the way you will be treated by those around you. Again this is all common sense stuff, that is sometimes overlooked, when in the blush of newness and infatuation, with a new place and culture.

I suppose I should say something about the house at this point. Night before last it started raining around 7 or 8 p.m.. No, that is too tame. The heavens opened in a torrential downpour to the accompaniment of a dramatic light-show. The din of thunder resonated along the mountain range for what seemed like minutes at a time. After the initial thunder storm there was a bit of calm before a more persistent rain settled in for an all night session. If you have ever spent a night in a village house you will understand why we got little sleep that night. You can hear every drop of rain on the roof. The sound is then amplified as the water cascades off the roof to the ground outside your window. This is in addition to the normal sounds of dogs, chickens, frogs and insects, some of which can be quite deafening. Of course we won’t have that problem with the new house but that is still a few months off.

In the morning the whole village awoke to an amazing sight. Where there had been lush green rice-fields there was now nothing but water. We seemed to be living in a lake. I got to try out my new knee-high rubber boots on the trek over to the house site. My wife’s boots were not as high as mine and filled with water on the way over. We visited with many neighbors standing out in the flooded sois of the village. In typical village form many of them were already out with their nets trying to catch fish. Sure they were worried about the survival of their rice crop, but no use passing up a good opportunity to go fishing in your own back yard.

The highway stayed above flood level and our little road and house are higher than the highway, so we were OK. Might want to add a little more height to our road and put a better surface on it at some later date. A truck delivering ceiling material had to drive around to one of the other sois to gain access to our road, but that worked just fine.

We checked on the tilers (husband and wife team) who are living in the house as they do their tile work. They had not gotten wet at all. They quite like living in our house. Especially during the full moon, when they say it is absolutely beautiful at night, surrounded by the fields and mountains in the distance. Noticed that our pond had become part of a much bigger lake and there was little sign of where the boarders might be. If we actually want to raise fish then we will have to do something more about defining the boundaries of the pond.

Afterwards we sloshed around the village visiting people who had it much worse than us. One family is visiting for a few weeks from Hong Kong and their house and their neighbor’s had about a foot or more of water inside their houses. As my wife sat with several other women, in plastic chairs on their flooded front stoop, I waded off to take pictures of what is usually a road. On this occasion one side had turned into a waterfall as the water rushed across the road and cascaded down the other side. I hope they didn’t take offense to my jesting about them living next to a waterfall and how lucky they were. People around here seem to handle this stuff pretty well, considering they don’t have a lot to begin with.

Today things are pretty much back to normal. A little cleaning up was necessary, but then again not too much time was spent on that, as you can expect of bumper crop of mushrooms, off in the jungle, after a good rain...