Thursday, February 24, 2011

Power Struggle

Kathmandu has a chronic energy problem. Every few weeks a new loadshedding schedule comes out that shows when each neighborhood will be without power. These outages total 12-14 hours a day. Don't feel sorry for me yet, embassy residences have generators that kick in when the city power goes out.

But the city-provided power is often not enough to run basic appliances. Sometimes when I try to re-heat leftovers in the microwave, the food stays cold no matter how long I zap it. Forget about using the stove or oven.

Last month the embassy installed an electric gate on my compound gate to make it easier and safer for me to drive in and out of my residence. Unfortunately, the city-provided power is not enough to operate the gate. Remember when people had to manually open and close their garage doors, before there were remote controlled garage doors? That's me. So, rain or shine, I have to open the gate, drive out, park, close the gate, and get back in my car. Tragic, right? Ok, now you can feel sorry me.


Anonymous said...

The cultural norm here in Dhaka is to pay someone about $150 a month to open the gate for you, twice a day. You don't share him with your neighbors or anything, he's your guy... Thankfully, the embassy provides us with someone to do this for us at night (i.e. the night guard). You'd think it's less safe for you to have to run out and open that gate all the time, what was the situation before the gate?

Heather said...

I drive myself to work in the mornings, but have a driver in the evenings (my dime, not the embassy's). The situation before was that I opened/closed the gate manually; the difference now is that I have an *electronic gate* that I open/close manually.

Mom said...

This makes perfect sense to the government, I'm sure.

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