31 December 2008
Living with Mexican electricity
We lost the electricity at around 9.00pm on Monday so have now been just over 24 hours without power. My computer is battery powered and a charge is good for just over two hours, but I still need candles so that I can see the keyboard. Barring a miracle a fair sized chunk of my district will be in this situation until next week, which is going to make New Year's Eve a pain for those families that haven't already made their arrangements.
What do I mean by arrangements? Well, there are three power lines that come into this area and two of them are down. Some dickhead decided to draw that much power that it blew a transformer and replacing one of those things is not a five minute job. However, two cables down still means that one cable is working so those people who have a basic knowledge of electricity are already running long and potentially lethal cables from their homes to the one remaining power line that is operational.
For the rest it really is a matter of make do and mend. A bloke who owns a small shop on the corner of my street lives about 500 yards away in a house that has power. So he rigged up the world's longest extension lead that runs from his house, via God knows how many trees and lamp-posts, to his shop. Thus he can plug some lamps into the cable, so at least he has lights, but the lead is too thin to power his ice cream fridge.
As for us, I drove over to the local Walmart and bought a thick 100 foot extension lead. The house next door is owned by one of the wife's tribe so the plug end of the cable was thrown over the wall and connected to their supply - obviously that house has power. The cable then enters our house though a window and reaches our fridge which it powers. I have connected a lamp to it and a short extension lead also runs from it to power a TV in a bedroom. When this post has been readied for publication I will charge the computer from this, our one line to civilisation.
Mexico - when I think about my life here I don't know whether to laugh or cry. . .
Update: The power returned at about 4.00pm.