It is difficult to describe the joy of living in this house.
The place suffers from all the inconveniences of a twenty year old building in a tropical climate: the windows don’t open or close easily; the mosquito nets need to be coaxed into the door and window frames; the garden is a mess of neglect and is probably home to every species of poisonous snake Lao has to offer.
Also, it is not one of those traditional wooden Lao house of which we had dreamt, with their gleaming wooden floors and views over the
No, this is an old French-style villa that looks like it had been ripped out of the arrière pays of Nice and planted here, between the banana trees and in the bottom of a rich tropical garden.
I say garden, but parts of it are more like a forest, especially the mysterious and shaded back of the house, where the Spirit House lives. We need a gardener of genius and independent thought and we need a maid!
The house is in the Diplomatic Quarter, which does have its own name in Lao,
Our immediate neighbour is the Chinese Embassy who use their clout to keep the area quiet and clean and one of our garden walls, covered with a sort of ivy, is the retaining wall to their compound. On the other side is a tenement building housing several Lao families who seem to share washing and cooking facilities. Unlike a similar place in
But the joy of the house is just being there, waking up in the morning and walking down the driveway and looking at the tall tropical trees on both sides. Birds fly high in the sky. Yellow and black butterflies flutter.
In all the years we lived in
In the distance there is a line of coconut palms, about 500 meters away, that kind of remind me of the opening scene from Apocalypse Now where you really get that feeling of strangeness, some-place-else-ness and foreignness that the Americans must have felt in the region.
We must have looked at about 15 houses before we chose this one. It was not the most beautiful or the best maintained. Other houses had views of the
Funny things about houses in
This is the wet season. Many of the homes we visited had gardens that were totally flooded. Our garden was pretty dry, even after a heavy rain. One place we went to, you had to fight the mosquitoes in the middle of the day! You don’t want this in a malaria zone in the middle of a dengue epidemic.
If you go on Tony’s web site at http://rentstobuy.com you will see such descriptions as “on paved road” or “close to paved road”. When you look at this from
Having said that, we wouldn’t mind living in a house situated several kilometres up an unpaved road, except that Marie-Do is pregnant and getting increasingly pregnant by the day.
So paved roads are important. Our nearest paved road is about 400 meters away.
The whole city sits on the Mekong which twirls like a snake down to the
Finding this place was a miracle. Four bedrooms, a large luxurious garden, a huge living room, space for Marie-Do to have a studio and even a room where I can eventually stock wines.
Negotiations with the landlord were long and laborious. But we finally got the price we wanted and the terms we wanted. When the container finally gets here, I will post more photos of the interior. Then it will really be our home.
Right now the great salon is empty and every little noise echoes in it like a canyon. But soon, it will be full of our furniture. There will be dinners, and parties and wine and good food. There will be barbeques and dancing and singing beneath the stars. There will be full moon parties and new moon parties.