Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Thai Home

What does a home in Thailand look like? Even since I wrote the last post my ideas about houses here have evolved. I visited a new friend's home Thursday. She and her husband are Americans. It was a beautiful apartment and looked much more familiar to me, so I now know there are more options available. The catch will be the cost involved.

To live Thai=cheap.
To live American=expensive.

Not that I want to live completely American, but it is amazing how quickly we miss the luxuries we take for granted in America.

I do not want to be negative on this blog, nor dishonest. So understand when I write these things I am myself am in the process of adjusting. I have been convicted lately about being content where I am. And I pray that God will make me so.

Wherever you live, homes our usually built with considerations of the climate, the enviroment, the available materials, etc... Eskimos don't have air conditioner, jungle homes don't have heaters; you get the picture.

In Thailand, heat, burglars, and wildlife are the main concerns when designing a home.

Heat: Bangkok is the hottest (or the 2nd) city in the world on average. No need for heaters here. Also, no water heaters either. Some people do heat the water electrically as it comes out the shower head. Kitchens used to be outside. It definitely helps with the heat and the mess. More modern and well off people have moved their kitchens inside. Ovens are not in the typical Thai home. Pun's parents bought one just before we arrived, but I feel guilty using it because I know it will heat up the house. Windows are left open continuously for air flow (unless it is a bedroom that you use an air conditioner in). No one has carpet here. Wood and tile floors are cooler and healthier (we heard of a man who died from mold in his lungs that had built up in his carpet!)

Burglary: It is a huge problem. Most everyone has a tall concrete fence with metal spikey things on top and a metal gate protecting there property. All the windows have bars on them. It feels a little like prison to me, but I see the necessity. Everyone has one or two watch dogs. There are dogs everywhere in the streets as well. If someone comes to visit you, they just yell at you from the fence. When we first arrived, I thought it was funny that Pun was in the bathroom helping one of the kids shower and at the same time was yelling out the window to the maid to order our breakfast. I felt spoiled!

Wildlife: Ants are a constant problem for everyone. I asked Pun if maybe we could make a peace offering of food for them outside and then they would leave us alone. He doesn't think it will work... Cockroaches come for food as well, and they are rather large. Then the lizards come. We really enjoy them and they feast on flying bugs. We are not sure there is any way to bug proof a home here.

It seems most houses are built out of concrete and cinder block. I suppose the reason is because it is cheap. The other side of that is once it is put in place it is difficult to work with (ie. hanging a picture or curtain rods). Also electrical wiring gets a little tricky, also. Many people use wood for the flooring. The wood floors and staircases are beautiful!

While we are waiting to build our own home, Pun and I are helping his parents remodel/redecorate their home. Though we are just beginning I think it will be very educational process as we learn what materials are available and how things are done here.


Karen said...

Wow! I can't imagine having a kitchen outside - and no stove! I can see that the adjustments would be HUGE!

Ants - I will say that every spring we have an ant problem. This year I was having a trail of ants coming from the backdoor across the kitchen floor and up onto our counter. We were having people over and I was desperate to keep them off the kitchen counter where all the food was. I had heard if you draw a chalk line in their path they won't cross it! It worked!!! The little ants would walk up to the line and look confused and then turn around and go back. It didn't get rid of the ant problem, but I found that I could at least keep them away from certain areas with a little bit of chalk! It was pretty amazing.

How are the kids adjusting? What is the time difference from here?

Merri said...

I didn't know that about chalk and ants, Karen. I told Pun and then he told me the maid does that. The problem is they are everywhere. Very hard to keep up with. Vinegar also works. We used in on the threshold at our home in Utah when they would try and come in during raining seasons.

The kids are doing good. Well, I think they are turning a corner in their own "culture shock".

The time difference is 13 hours to Utah and 12 to KC. Right now it is 11:40am on Tuesday. So it would 11:40pm on Monday.

Jadens party looked like a lot of fun. Happy Birthday to you, too, in few days!

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