Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Of Sausage, Law, and Houses

Well as you can see from these pictures, my house is nearly finished. We were going to do something a little more on the outside but I like it the way it is, especially the garage door.

I am constantly impressed with the technology and equipment that is necessary for such a project. The scaffolding used to haul the cement for the roof is an example of what I mean. I really wanted them to leave it in place for an observation deck but the contractor won't part with it.

The shot of the living room looking back toward the stairs is an example of how we have stayed with neutral colors and use splashes of bold color to give ambiance, i.e the red furnishings and doors. I am most fond of the stairway. Since it is such a key element to the design of the house, I decided to go all out and make it a showpiece.

And I must say, it was tempting to not stucco over the brickwork and just have the warm feel of master craftsmen throughout the house. But the cement covering keeps the harmony of the neutral color scheme.This can be seen well in the shot of my bedroom and bathroom wall. The place needs to be tidied up little but does look cozy, don't you agree? Watching it all come together is such a rewarding experience.

I heard it once said that a man who has respect for the law and a fondness of sausage should never watch either being made. This is also true of building a house in Vietnam!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Wet Season

The wet season has begun. Every day, clouds roll in from the mountains in the west and dump rain on the city. The showers can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to several hours. The locals say this has been a mild season so far. We have not experienced any of the major typhoons that often hit Da Nang. The rain does cool things off and it can be almost chilly in the evenings. It feels good to me but many of the locals bundle up like it's freezing. Today is a bright sunny day though. However huge white thunderheads are building in the deep blue sky over the mountains, giving warning that rain will come tonight.

I have found a great little spot on the beach where I can sit under a grass umbrella and watch the surf roll in while eating a bowl of steamed clams and schrimp. Sometimes they also have roasted corn on the cob. I come here often on days when I do not have to work to get away from the noise and clamor of the city. It's peaceful there since not many people come to the beach in the middle of the day. I'm often the only person out there and can't help but feel like I am on my own private island.

Today, I met the old gentleman who lives behind me. He's kind of the celebrity of the neighborhood. He was a decorated officer with the North during the war and showed me a photograph of him standing with General Giap. He invited me into his home for coffee and a cigarette and we tried to share some information about ourselves. Again, the language barrier can be a frustration but not enough to keep us from liking each other.