Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crooked Little House - Part One

Saigon is close to the equator, and so all the days are about the same length. There are no late summer nights, and no late winter mornings either. Dawn starts to break at around 5 am, and by 6 many people are already very busy into their day - including the builders who are putting up a new apartment block on our street.  Every morning we are woken by the light pushing it's way through all the cracks in the curtains, and that same light is heralded by the banging and crashing of the builders tools and hammers in the street below. It's as if they were celebrating the sunrise with a parade of drums and cymbals, in the same way that the Hare Krishnas welcome the Friday night sunset with their parade down Queen Street.

The building site today.

When we first moved in, the building site was a few holes in the ground, and I regret it now, but I didn't think to take any pictures at the time. We watched the foundations being built and the concrete being poured, by hand, into the holes.  It all seems pretty precarious and undoubtedly not earthquake-proof!

I got my first pictures at around February 24th, when we realised that the building going up was going to incorporate the existing building on the section behind.

While it would be a bit of a stretch to call this an ecologically-conscious project - it is interesting to see how much building material is recycled and reused.

You can see that a lot of the materials in the
foreground here are pre-loved.
In the shots below, you can see the lengths that were gone to to demolish parts of the existing building below without damaging the valuable bricks it was built from.  Three or four men worked up there for about three days, knocking the bricks out one by one.
The pile of bricks behind the 2 guys on the lower
level are all salvaged

This was an exceptionally NOISY day!

I am fairly certain that the building I am living was built in pretty much the same way as this one.  Our building is quite new, and there are a lot of similar building projects happening in the neighbourhood. You might remember this shot of all the rooftops I can see from my balcony window.

Most older buildings in Saigon are 3-4 short storeys high.

In a few years time I'm sure that that view will be greatly changed, as the older buildings are pulled down one by one, and new, high-rise building (which can collect much higher rents) go up.

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