Monday, August 11, 2008

Construction Zone

A new house is being built next door to where I’m living. It’s pretty incredible to watch the way things are constructed over here. The largest piece of equipment I’ve seen so far is a wheel barrow. They cleared the land and dug out the foundation with shovels. Cement is delivered in 50K bags and a truck load of rock and sand are piled on the sidewalk. All the concrete is mixed in the middle of the street with shovels then wheel barrowed to the forms. Bricks are brought in on a truck and unloaded by hand. It’s impressive how much gets done in a day in spite of the lack of equipment. It’s like watching a bunch of ants.

The housing market is going great guns over here right now. Inflation is a big worry and many people want to build before prices get out of reach. In my neighborhood (six blocks) there are more than twelve houses being built at the moment. With property values going up an average of 30% a year for the past three years, it’s no wonder.

It’s not only houses that are being built. The entire beach front has been cleaned up and a wide boulevard put in. Major hotels and resorts are rising from the open land in all directions. The amount of change here in Da Nang is phenomenal. When I was here in 1995, the town was old, dirty, and very poor. Today, it’s clean and becoming modern. The big problem right now is electricity. With all the new development, they can’t generate enough of it. Almost daily, they cut power to a section of the city for a few hours. It can be frustrating but you do get use to it after a while.