Tuesday morning the power went off about 7am as I was ready to shower and shave in a bathroom with no windows. But fortunately in the bedside table alongside the Gideon Bible and telephone books was a candle and matches. So I showered and shaved by candlelight. A while later the hotel generator kicked in and life returned to something resembling normal.
Seems this is the season (or year) of shortages. Power cuts for 3 hrs per day rolling to different parts of the city, supposedly on a "schedule" but still unpredictable. Walking down the main Boulevard one is treated to a symphony of gasoline generators out on the sidewalk. Those who cannot afford (or could not find) a generator use propane lanterns, flashlights and candles to wait out the outage. Or they just shut their doors and lose the business. But power is not the whole story. Water deliveries to the Kathmandu valley are running at 50% of demand and motor fuel and LPG cooking gas are in short supply. At dinner the other night they put a candle on my table so when the power went out I could have a "romantic candlelight dinner" alone and in unusual silence.
The irony is that I am here to computerize the systems for three agencies including the Nepal Stock Exchange. And computerized systems require... electricity. Fortunately we built the provision of backup generators and uninterruptable power supplies into the contracts but it is tough to run a business without power. These are not problems that can be solved quickly so people just learn to adapt. Failure to plan ahead has it's consequences.
Friday afternoon the sound of horns blaring ourside was interupted by loud noises including loudspeakers and clanging symbols. The Maoists were having a march through town waving their red communist flags (with hammer and sickle) and shouting slogans. Traffic comes to a gridlock standstill and no amount of horn blowing can get it to move until the protestors finally move on. But the monkeys don't like the noise either so they are gone for the rest of the day. Monday is an eclipse which makes it a public holiday so all government agencies are closed. Sure are a lot of holidays here.
Life in the shadow of the Himilayas sure is different from the USofA
May warm weather blow your way,