We have made a lot of progress at Uza Beach Resort over the last week thanks to great effort by my fellow Helpers.
Elias (from a German-speaking village in northern Italy) put in several days of hard work before he left for kick-boxing school in Phuket. Another five helpers have arrived since then – Max and Nui from France, and a traveling trio (Mathilde and Opheli from France, and Ivan from Russia). It’s been fantastic to have so much help, and fun company!
The beach bar project, “Sunset Suds,” continues to move forward slowly. Ben has ordered the materials for the actual bar structure. It will arrive by boat in 10+ days, which is fine since Ben and I don’t yet agree on which way the bar will face: facing the beach (so that beachgoers see the front of the bar and feel welcome), or facing the resort (so that as customers sit at the bar, they are looking out at the beach)? I vote for the former, Ben for the latter.
In the meantime, we continue with the “infrastructure” for the bar.
Elias and I managed to fill in the original bar area with sand but then, after discussing with Ben, we decided to expand the bar area by about another meter on one side – we moved the rock border, dug up the grass, and filled in with more sand.
Then with the other Helpers, we created a second seating area adjacent to the bar, under the large tree. This area would include a long, low wooden table facing the beach where you could rest your drink as you settle into a mat or cushion on the sand and enjoy the view.
To create this area, we first built a retaining wall where the beach rises steeply up to Uza’s grassy yard. We used large rocks and cement blocks. We packed in dirt to level out the area; however it was still lower than the bar area, so we also built a step down from the bar using rocks from the beach. Along the edge of the seating area closest to the beach (just back from the retaining wall), we buried two posts that would be the “legs” of the narrow table. Then we filled the area with sand, and lined the front edge with chunks of coral.
We sanded down the long plank that would become the table, and gave it two coats of varnish. It looked great. We can’t install it yet since we don’t have electricity to power the drill.
With the basic footprint of the bar and adjacent seating area done, we next worked on getting water and electricity to the bar. We began the long, slow process of digging a trench from the corner of the restaurant out to the bar area. In this trench we would bury two pipes – one for water and one for electrical wiring.
The digging alone took us a whole morning. We were using one good hoe, one broken hoe, one handheld hoe, and a shovel. Not ideal, but we managed. We navigated around rocks and roots, removing what we could while trying not to damage our precious tools.
The hard physical work required several water breaks – either drinking it or swimming in it. Or both. I also enjoyed relaxing in the shade of our new bar seating area.
Once the trench was done, we gathered up all the plastic piping around the property and took inventory of what we had. Ben had been redoing some of the electrical and water in the villa, and had saved the old pipes. They were still in acceptable shape for our needs, so we used them.
Amazingly, we found enough pipes, joints, and corner pieces to run all of the electrical. Ben just had to buy one more section of blue pipe for the water.
For the water pipes, we joined the sections using glue that we found in the storage area. Ben helped us tap into the existing water pipe and add a 3-way intersection and emergency shut off valve. We fit that pipe into the bottom of the trench.
Next, for the electrical, we fed the new wire through all the pipes, joints, and corners, making sure we did it in the right order. Then we fitted everything together and laid that series of pipes on top of the water pipe.
The next step will be to bury the pipes; however we may drill a few holes in the bottom of the electrical pipes first, so that if water does get into the pipe, it will drain away. We need to check with Ben on this, and also need an extension cord for the drill.
All in all, "Sunset Suds" is moving right along. I can't wait to pour that first beer....