We have started phase II of construction at our cabin in the jungle. We are shrinking the pond with a retaining wall, which we will cover with some vines or some such. The pond (here are some pictures from last May) did not have a lot of plants around it to prevent erosion, so erode it did, doubling in size over the past year of rains and threatening to steal away the earth under the stairs at our entrance.
We have a six-meter footbridge, so we no longer have to sneak in through the neighbor's bridge or inch along the muddy sides of the canal to get home. Now to grow hedges and plants to better define our grand entrance.
And (drumroll)... we are building our traditional Thai kitchen under the house -- the area known in Thai as the "tai thoon." Most Thais living in homes on raised stilts keep their pigs and chickens in the tai thoon, as well as their outdoor cooking area. When their kids grow up, the pigs move out to make way for the adult kids' room.
The tai thoon, underneath the house, is typically cooler, and it is where Thais spend the hot tropical days. Also, as I learned from the Barefoot Architect, it is typical in the tropics to build the upper floor first with a good sturdy roof to protect from the rains, and then when budget permits, expand under the house with a floor and walls.