It must have been a Sunday, because our workers were away and it wasn’t during one of their frequent and usually long work stoppages. I was just hanging out at the construction site, doing what I do. I clean-up and transport water in and trash out; water the plants; but mostly just lie around in one of the hammocks and day dream or write. Increasingly, I find myself at Bann Nah. Thip’s spending more time there, too.
As with most Isaan storms, you get an idea of what’s coming ahead of time. Air movement picks up and the skies go gray; bombs explode far off in the distance – kind of in that order. Later, you’ll see the lightning off toward the horizon and a bit later hear the thunder. Soon afterwards, the winds pick up even more and then the rain is upon you.
While the storm was coming in, Naht drove the temple tuk-tuk to the pad to retrieve some of the wat’s scaffolding that we had borrowed in order to screw-in the outside walls. I thought it was poor timing and was surprised he was even attempting it, actually, because it was clear that we were gonna get dumped on. He was down on the ground when the storm rolled in. I had already gone upstairs because I knew this would be my best shelter and that I would need it.
The hard wind drove the rain in at what I estimated was around a 40-degree angle. I huddled in the most sheltered corner of our new home’s interior while Naht first huddled next to the samlor and then, finding little protection there, moved to the lee side of one of our cement posts. I don’t know why he didn’t come upstairs, but given the strength of the wind and angle, I’m afraid he thought the house might come down.
To tell you the truth, it soon became a consideration of mine, too. I don’t know what the wind speed was, but it was the strongest wind I’d ever been in and the side angle is what made it doubly worse. The structure upstairs was definitely swaying; how critically, I don’t know, but I began to assess what wall support would hold me best, in the event the ship went down.
Then, the wind shifted directions and I had to find another corner to shield myself and a different wall support to hold on to if worse came to worst. The shift in the wind may have meant that the storm was overhead or passing by.
As with most storms in Northeastern Thailand during the East Asian Monsoon Season, this one didn’t last long; an hour or two, at most. There are some storms that come in and can last all night, but these are generally not strong, just prolonged.
At any rate, this second storm convinced us that we shouldn’t wait to put in the horizontal ground supports for the cement posts. These had originally been planned for after the wood portion of the construction was over. To be safe, we had to further support the cement posts as soon as possible.
So, Lott and Naht interrupted their work on the interior ceiling and walls to do some ground level work with cement, sand, gravel and rebar...