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PP2 - The pre-building headache

So here we are sitting on our land, having all these great ideas about what we wanted to build and what it should look like, and then it slowly hit us: we have no clue about building. Literally, zero.

I mean let’s be honest, I have practical smartness that amounts to pretty much nothing, I can barely change a light bulb and on most days I find practical life challenging, whether it is to remember to put fuel in the bike or to pay the bills. I am not sure whether Julia is worse than me but she is up there with me in the category of "chaotically organised people". And she has kids, which makes it even more admirable, as she has to feed two tiny humans on top of herself.

So to build a dive shop….challenging to say the least.

So we started by drawing sketches and thinking out loud, and then we talked to some people and some more people, and the more we did that the more confused we got.

Budget is limited, we don’t want to build an ugly concrete building, we have no clue of how to organise or build anything.

I talked to my brother the engineer and realized the depth of my ignorance. I jokingly asked him to come and build my dive centre, but if he had said yes I would probably have bought him a plane ticket within the hour.

We had several meetings with contractors that got us to be even more puzzled. We were sitting down with a few people and telling them what we needed and asking questions (most of it in Indonesian, my building vocabulary is getting better every day), and a lot of the time the answer we got was “as you want, Ibu”. To any question: wood or bamboo? Office here or there? One floor or two floors? Excavate more or not? Concrete or asphalt on the road?

The “as you want” answer got a bit old, since as said above we have no clue. There were so many times when I wanted to say “look man, it’s not as I want because I also want gluten free cheeseburgers and a flying unicorn and the prettiest dive centre in the world but that isn’t gonna happen today, it’s what works best and this is YOUR JOB to know that, not mine”.

A lot of headaches ensued. We wrote a list of specifications of what we need. We drew strings on the land and measured stuff and look at our survey drawings and did another 10 sketches. We talked to more people. We freaked out some more.

(now, please play here some sort of grandiose music like a Mozart requiem or some Beethoven so you get in the mood of what is to come next. Actually wait, let me do it for you, here)

Then, we met Charlie.

Charlie owns a fancy architect firm in Bali and I had met him before through his wife. He probably doesn’t get out of bed for projects of less than half a million dollars, and everything his company does is pretty amazing and beautiful. Even their office is pretty.

So we went to see him thinking that he would probably turn us down but he would have some insights for us, but he didn’t.

Instead, he started talking about bamboo and curved roofs and landscapes and sustainable building and a lot of other things that sounded soooo sexy. He offered to have one of his staff design our project on his free time for a reasonable fee and to supervise his work. We would still have to find a contractor and supervise construction, but we would have a blueprint of our entire buildings that we could use for the next few years.

So we said yes.

Our baby architect is named Gunawan, I say baby because he looks like he is 19. But he knows what he is doing. We love him already after one visit on the land.

Soon enough, we’ll have a plan.

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