Monday 14 October 2013

Renovations: Master Bedroom #2

Having got the cupboards out of the way it was time to tackle the painting.
I like to work in a top down fashion. Do the ceilings then the walls and finally the room trim including window frames, skirting boards etc.
First task is to strip out what I can, light fixtures, picture hooks and other crap left by previous occupants. Then patch the holes this leaves behind plus fix any other defects. After that it is supposedly a simple task of cleaning walls and ceiling and then re-painting. If only.
I had been aware of some flaking paint on the ceiling, so I did an experiment of sanding and repainting a small patch. It improved the look, but I had doubts about the longevity of this solution. So I did a further experiment and used a scraper on the flakes. I soon found that I could scrape off a fair bit of ceiling paint. It was only loosely bonded to the drywall above. I began to think about two things, firstly why was it doing this and secondly how was I going to fix it.
My first thought on the why was moisture or water. The bathroom and kitchen both have much more serious paint flaking. Water from below was not an option for the bedroom, whereas it could be for the bathroom and kitchen. So next step was a trip into the roof crawl space to see if there was evidence of water. My gutters had been blocked and overflowing, maybe it had come into the roof.
Gratifyingly the roof space was dry and showed no evidence of water penetration.
So i had a closer look at the paint that I had scraped off. The first thing that occured to me was that the paint was coming off the paper covering the drywall. Basically it had only bonded lightly to the ceiling. Also there were patterns, a lot of the flaking was near to joints in the drywall.
I will never know, but I suspect that the ceiling was never primed or undercoated properly. Possibly it was a bad mix of paints, possibly the jointing compound between the drywall sheets had not set properly, possibly moisture is coming through the join. Whatever, I scraped and sanded off what I could, but I think that the problem will re-occur.
But this gave me a problem. Painting over the cleaned area would leave a noticeable ridge line. I had no idea how to overcome this.
Google is my friend. I quickly discovered that I needed to skim coat the ceiling, or at least the parts that I had exposed. This involves spreading a thin layer of jointing compound on the ceiling to even it out. Oh dear, the Bludger is expected to do this? You expect me to spread a thin coat of stuff on a ceiling so that it does not fall off neither that it is too thick nor too thin? Warning impending ceiling disaster.
I dutifully headed off to my regular hardware store to purchase the items that I would need. I felt vaguely uneasy about this however. Had I taken enough of the loose material off? Are there other patches that will fail inside a year or two, and I will need to repeat the exercise? Can I even do it?
{note: Posting a half completed blog from 3 years ago}

Thursday 10 October 2013

Wat Huay Mongkol

Wat Huay Mongkol is one of the tourist attractions in the vicinity of Hua Hin. It is a rather large temple complex built along the banks of a river and features a large statue of Luang Phor Thuad who is a very famous monk in Thailand.
I approached and parked with rain threatening to fall. I began a walk around the temple complex.
There are a number of temples and pavilions and it had a very quiet atmosphere, at least on the day that I visited.
As I write this large parts of Thailand are under water and flooded. The river next to the Temple was in flood and obviously well above its normal height. Some areas were under water and what I assume were flow control barriers or mini dams were all totally inundated and overflowing.
Flooded Pavillion

Overflowing dam

At one stage I walked across a floating bridge and had to leap across a gap at the far end to make it to the temple at the end.
Floating bridge

The prayer area once safely across
This was a nice quiet spot and I spent some time there sheltering from the rain. While there I was attended to by a friendly dog who seemed to like licking the salty sweat from my arms and legs. Did I mention it was a hot humid day?
After the rain eased I made my way via a pathway back to the main temple complex and so to the Statue itself.

Luang Phor Thuad - statue
I am suffering from "yet another Wat" complex, but I have to admit that this statue was pretty awesome. The large carved Elephants at the bottom were hollow and you could poke your head inside the belly, carefully avoiding its anatomically correct carved "woody", and leave a small donation. Trojan Elephants maybe?
Taksin at the charge

I then wandered around the remaining area, checked out another temple, saw the statue of King Taksin the Great on horseback and basically called it a day.

The Bludger was hot sweaty and has pretty much had enough of Temples.

Floating Markets near Hua Hin. Part 2

Hua Hin Sam Phan Nam floating Market

Hua Hin Sam Phan Nam Floating Market
After the Hua Hin Floating Market I rode to the nearby Hua Hin Sam Phan Nam floating Market. To me it seems crazy to have 2 floating markets in such close proximity, but that is commercial interest for you.
Sam Phan is considerably bigger than Hua Hin and was also much busier with several busloads of tourists there and a large school group just turning up as I did. There were also more open shops and a busy series of restaurants.
Superman was not in sight

Generic view of decking and shops

Keeping the floating theme intact

It is a large complex with a central eating area built onto the lake and what turned out to be a stage also built onto the lake. I managed to miss the main performances but did catch some glimpses of dancers in beautiful costumes as I wandered around.
Dancers on a floating platform
There is also a passenger train that runs from one end of the complex to another.

I found this much more exciting than the first market that I had been to. This is a place where you can take the family for a day out and do some shopping, watch the shows and have a nice lunch overlooking the lake. It caters for both locals and tourists.
and my heart went "boom boom boom"
Once again though it is a clothing, trinket and souvenir market and is built around the lake. You can take boat rides around the lake also.

Huay Mongkol Floating Market

This market is so new that it has not hit many of the guide books and online travel guides yet.
Not a lot further on, maybe 10 km from the previous markets it is about 1km from Wat Huay Mongkol (see next post).

When I went there the place was almost deserted. Most shops were closed and still looked vacant, only a handful were open. I spoke with one lady and if I understood her correctly the market does not officially open until November 2013. I was 2 or 3 weeks too early!.
Still it is a pleasant spot and I can see the potential for growth. It is so close to the Wat that it makes a good day trip from Hua Hin you can knock off a temple and market in one go. There are also other attractions in the area that could make a full days outing.

However there is not a lot to report. A large complex with bridges linking sections together and providing shortcuts from one section to another. I saw a bored person using a sling shot and ball bearings to try and shoot fish in the lake. Not the most clever way of using time.
The Bludger was finished with markets for the day.

Floating Markets near Hua Hin. Part 1

The original Thai floating markets were literally boats filled with groceries, market goods, fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, vendors selling cooked food and a plethora of other things. There are still some of these markets operating in Thailand, with a large market on the outskirts of Bangkok which is a huge tourist attraction nowadays.

The more modern floating markets are designed as both retail and entertainment areas for the Thai people. They also attract many tourists. Rather than boats filled with goods they tend to be clusters of shops built around a small lake, often man made. These are not grocery markets, these are places to pick up your clothes, shoes, souvenir items, hand made goods and find a spot to have lunch. They tend to be family friendly and while alcohol is readily available I have not seen the traditional group of Thai's getting drunk around a bottle of Whiskey.
As I had hired a motorbike for the day I decided to take a trip out into the country and explore the markets.
Please note below that I visited in low season on a weekday, the numbers of tourists both Thai and Foreign were very low and many shops simply did not bother to open. The experience in high season will be markedly different.

The Entrance to Hua Hin Floating Market

Market 1. Hua Hin Floating Market. This is about 12km from Hua Hin proper, along Soi 112. Confusingly it is right next to another floating Market (Hua Hin Sam Phan Nam Floating Market ) so you can kill 2 birds with one stone. If you follow the signs to the Sam Phan Nam market you will reach Hua Hin Market first. My map was out of date and the Market was much further along Soi 112 than I had anticipated. I had actually tried walking there the day before and given up. I believe that it may have moved from the original site as the buildings all look very new and modern.

While the lake and buildings are pretty overall I did not find this very impressive. On the day that I went it there were only a handful of shops open and only a handful of other tourists. But there are certainly some nice looking food stalls, I did stop at one to get a cold drink but the disinterested staff could not be bothered getting off their seats so I gave up on the drink idea and walked away.
Goats in the Animal Farm
There is an animal farm at this market which is attractive to children. The animal farm consists of a small souvenir shop, a coffee shop and the animals themselves. These consist mainly of some tired looking goats, a few parrots and a bunny rabbit. You can buy bottles of milk to hand feed the kids.
I walked around the whole complex in about 30 minutes and was on my way.
The Bludger was not overly impressed.