Monday, February 04, 2008

Welcome to the Dark Ages

We wake up to the same question every morning, “will there be electricity?” Nepal, which is said to have some of the greatest opportunities for hydro electricity, has very little of the stuff coming out of the sockets.

When we arrived here in the rainy season, the rivers were high and there was nearly enough electricity. We only had 4 hours of load shedding (a nice way of saying blackouts) a week. At that point it was almost romantic…candlelit dinners was the only inconvenience.

Now we have load shedding for 8 hours a day 6 days a week. Monday is our only day with no load shedding. Of course, this means nothing since we had no juice for 3 hours this morning (nick named over-shedding).

Our house has no insulation and the only means of heat is our little electric heater. It is generally about 50 degrees in our house, so we go outside when it is sunny to try to get warmed up.

Showers are pleasant until you get out. We have a gas water heater which gets us nice and warm. Then we open the bathroom door and step into the 50 degree bedroom. We start to shiver and put on our clothes (which are cooled to a convenient 50 degrees also). 50 degrees may not seem that cold, but let me tell you naked and wet…not good.

In the next couple of weeks, the load shedding will go up to 11 hours a day. My favorite columnist, whose columns have the bite of an alligator, says that only in Nepal could people put a positive spin on this and say it is better than last year (it was 13 hours a day then). Later in the article he proposed the next tourism slogan, come to Nepal to visit the dark ages.

I am told things start to get better when the rain picks up…till then we will spend a lot of time under the blankets.

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