10 Things To Do During A Power Cut

Unfortunately, this is now very relevant for me, and pretty much anyone else staying in Nepal. Since yesterday, the authorities here slashed a 16 hour daily power cut on the country – up from 12 hours per day last month!

Kathmandu by night!

Kathmandu by night!

It’s completely ridiculous, a national disaster, making it very hard to do any work that requires a computer for instance. This is the absolutely worst thing for me personally about staying in Nepal. Don’t mind the pollution, traffic jams, general strikes, filth and stench in the street, risk of natural disasters etc. I can live with all that. But no power… Thank god, at least, I finished setting up my two major web projects just in time. I’m managing, just, to keep up with the basics now. Sometimes I have to wake up very early, like 3 o’clock early, but ok. So be it.

So forgive me if I’m a bit slow answering requests and such these days.

A little background info might be appropriate here: Nepal’s electricity is generated by hydro-power plants, water running down the mountains. That’s really nice, clean and cheap energy. Only thing is, during the winter it doesn’t really rain and only a tiny amount of snow melts. So there’s basically no water to generate electricity this time of year! They don’t even meet half of the demand, and the ironic thing is they have potential to create about a 1000 times more of that yummi-yummi clean and cheep energy – if they’d just have constructed some more power plants. But they haven’t. The country is poor and just recently came out of a Maoist rebellion, making it nearly impossible to build new infrastructure. Meanwhile, the population is booming, people are getting richer, everyone’s buying electric fridges, heaters, TV’s etc. If the demand for electricity goes up by about 10% per year, without paralleled increase in supply, we end up where we are now. Power cuts increasing 50% per year. If memory serves me, first winter I stayed here, it was 4h/day, second winter 10h/day and third, now 16h/day. Imagine next year…?

Well, if the Danish immigration services don’t give us too much trouble, I should be leaving before next winter really kicks in. But I’m currently in a situation where I’m not really sure if I’m stuck here or not!

So, back to topic. What to do, ke garne, as they say here. I tried sending an email to N.E.A. (Nepal Electricity Authority) with a couple of suggestions but, symptomatic, I got an auto-reply saying the email address didn’t exist. That’s the official email address of the responsible person in charge. So just live with it, I suppose. Get used to it or by a Jenny (a generator). I don’t really need it, and as I have some extra family obligations as well these days, I guess I’ll make do without a Jenny.

So finally, here it comes. The 10 things you can do during the power cuts:

1. BE EFFICIENT : Buy your groceries, take a shower, wash clothes, walk the dog etc. All the things you have to do, it’s boring, but do it.

2. PLAN AHEAD : All the things you want to do when the power comes back on. Make sure you’re ready and know what to do!

3. WONDER AIMLESSLY : …around in the polluted city. This is what most people here actually seems to be doing!

4. READ : A book, the newspaper. I’m currently reading a new history book about Nepal, that one by John Whelpton.

5. LEARN A LANGUAGE : Nepali being the obvious choice around here. Either hit the books or strike up a conversation with someone…

6. LISTEN TO RADIO : Another good choice.

7. SLEEP : Get ready to work whenever the power comes back on, even if it’s in the middle of night!

8. EAT : Banana-coconut pancakes and coffee is highly recommendable!

9. EXERCISE : Push-ups, yoga, tai chi, meditation… Can’t hurt to get in shape, especially after those banana-coconut pancakes!

10. TAKE PHOTOS : This being my profession, an obvious choice. Problem starts when I have to caption, photoshop, upload etc.

I am doing all of the above from time to time, so now you know why, if my web activity isn’t running as smoothly as before. Not all bad though, wife appreciates the extra time!

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