Load shedding. Say, whaaat?

Load shedding. Sounds like a big word. Like something from an engineering book you are unlikely to understand. But in simple laymen’s words it is: blackout. No electricity. Electricity company sheds the load off of the electricity grid. And how do they do that? It’s very simple – they shut off electricity to parts of the city. Such is life in Nepal. You know that talk about the right to basic infrastructure that’s often given in the West? Yeah, you can forget about that in Nepal. Here, the first thing you ought to do is buy some candles. Always, always have candles in the house. And matches. Or a lighter. Otherwise candles really don’t make any sense, now do they? Notice that candles will be your last resort when other lights fail to light-up your world. After that, stock up your house with a whole bunch of light-producing devices, either electrically charged or run by batteries. Always keep them charged. Keep your cellphone charged. Given it has a flash-light. If it doesn’t, buy a new cellphone that does. Your house should also have a big battery, popularly referred to as the inverter. This bad boy gets charged when there is electricity, and then happily provides you light when the electricity company decides to shed the load in your neighbourhood. Useful little things. Sometimes there is so much load shedding during the day that the inverter doesn’t get a chance to charge fully and dies on you just as you shampooed your hair and soaped your body. As you scramble for water and towel in the dark, think about installing solar panels on the roof, or a diesel generator. I’d never go for the generator as it is ruining the environment tremendously and adding to already unbelievable amount of pollution in Kathmandu. Be green, people.

Setting the mood in Nepali households since ... forever

Setting the mood in Nepali households since … forever

Maybe you’re wondering how I live my life without electricity. Or maybe you’re not wondering about it at all. I’ll tell you anyways.

First and foremost, I take many a romantic shower. Yes, I shower in the candlelight almost every night. And it would be romantic if it wasn’t a bit sad, actually. Also, not a good time to shave legs. I savour every minute at work. There is a generator that keeps the heat from the AC running, that charges my cellphone and powers the router for WiFi. Work seems like heaven. I read a lot. Also, I stare in the wall a lot. And play Candy Crush. There is nothing else to do when there is no light at home. At some point I give up and go to bed embarrassingly early, like 8:30 pm. I’ve learned to walk around the house in the dark. I feel like I am turning in a cat. You know, because they can see really well in the dark.

Sometimes I stay up really late just to plug in my laptop to charge when the electricity comes. When I say really late, I mean like 11pm. What? In Nepal, that’s really late. Sometimes I choose to live life without modern technologies. Until the weekend that is, when I am at home and can charge devices whenever the electricity comes. You see, this is the thing. Most of the time the electricity is gone in the morning, when you would reasonably want to wash your hair and dry it, or maybe make a toast. Then it comes back when you’re at work. Once you’re back from work the electricity is gone again. No reheating your dinner in the microwave, but hey, you get to be all romantic in the bathroom. So really, unless your office has a generator, you pretty much spend the whole day without electricity. As daunting as it may sound, it’s actually not that bad. One somehow gets used to it fairly quickly. Or maybe I’m just saying it to make myself feel better.

Short stories from Istanbul

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time there was a married couple living in Nepal. She was from Croatia and he was from Nepal. One sunny summer day they were leisurely surfing the Internet when they came across cheap plane tickets to Croatia. Her eyes lit up at the prospect of going to Croatia for Christmas and he nodded his head in approval. Tickets were purchased.

Come December, the suitcases were packed and a happy couple made their way to the airport. Everything seemed merry. After all, ’twas the season. One thing they neglected to consider was the fact they were flying …[ insert horror movie music]… Turkish Airlines. Oh, what a nightmare it was! Their flight out of Kathmandu to Istanbul was delayed for more than 5 hours, but they were still waiting patiently, excited they are on the way to Croatia, hoping they would not miss their connecting flight. When finally boarded, both were surprised to find out there are no announcements being made, and no apology given for delay. Entertainment system was not working and there was no food for vegetarians and others who do not eat meat.  When they reached Istanbul, their flight to Croatia has already departed. And that is when their ordeal truly began. For some immigration reasons they were not allowed to leave the airport and sleep in the hotel provided by the airline. Instead, they had to spend 15:30 hours in Istanbul airport. They wasted hours and hours walking from one desk to the other trying to find some accommodation or at least some sympathy from the airline and airport staff. To no vain. All they got was angry and disgusted glances. They’ve been ignored, yelled at, lied to, made fools out of. They got a food voucher for a hamburger. And finally, exhausted, frustrated and angry, they found a quiet room and two chairs to spend the night. Even for that, they got mistreated and yelled at.

Finally, the next morning arrived and they boarded their flight to Croatia. Luckily, this time everything was in order. They reached Croatia tired but happy to see the beaming faces of the family members in the airport. Next three weeks were spent in a haze of food and sleep. When the day of departure for Nepal came, the couple again feared the worse – delays and mistreatment in Istanbul airport. Their trip began on a positive note, by being upgraded to business class for their first flight. But that was all they got. Just an upgrade, but not the service. Seat was in a business class area, though the food was economy class. Couple dismissed it with a laugh, happy that someone was appreciative enough of the trouble they went through earlier. However, upon reaching Istanbul, finding out they are no longer in business class and realizing their flight is seven hours delayed, despair, once again, set in. This time around, they decided they will not allow airline and airport staff to abuse and mistreat them, so they found a quiet seat in the waiting area where they would spend the next 12 hours. Faith had something else in plan.

Patience is a virtue

Patience is a virtue

The husband suddenly developed a strong headache. It must’ve been stress-induced. His eyes turned red and his mood went sour. The wife went in search of a medication. She located the information desk where she found out that she needs to call the pharmacy which will then deliver the medicine. She did as told. The pharmacy said to call back in an hour. She obliged. After second call she was told to hold on for 10 minutes and medicine will be brought to her. She waited for more than an hour. No one showed up. Upon her third call to the pharmacy, she was told to call back in ten minutes. The wife then gave up and cried in frustration. The husband was getting worse and worse. They walked around the airport looking for someone to help them. None of the airport staff was responsive. As if though they were not human. Finally, they managed to get medicine from a nice fellow traveller.

Flight was boarded with seven-hour delay. Once again, no entertainment system on a seven-hour flight. Mid-way to Kathmandu eggs and sausages were slapped in front of them to eat. No vegetarian option. Again, no apology.

No Turkish Airlines for this couple again. They only have one thing to say to you, readers:  for heaven’s sake, avoid Turkish Airlines and Istanbul airport like plague.

Good start to 2014!

Happy New Year everyone! Mr.B and I are wishing you a happy and prosperous 2014.

Now, for the good stuff. Just like that, out of nowhere, my blog was chosen as the expat blog of the month by expat-blog.com! Can you believe it? Me neither. Here you can read all about me and share my excitement over this amazing recognition. Thank you expat-blog.com!

Remember that time when I was really excited to be nominated for Nepaliaustralian’s blog award? I ushered you all to go and vote for me. Well, my dear and valued readers, thanks to you and your votes I WON! A million thanks to everyone who extended their vote to me. I could not be more grateful! I won the “Most Witty Post” award for my post Anything is Possible in Kathmandu. Doesn’t the award look so shiny and glittery?

nepaliaustralian_mostwittypost

Again, thank you all so much!

With love,

Ms.Z.

Reflections

What a better time to reflect on one’s life than the New Year’s Day? Hence, here I am reflecting. The past year was exciting, to say the least. What with quitting the job, moving to Nepal and starting my newly married life with Mr.B. It was definitely not easy. It was emotional, and hard, and happy, and exciting, and crazy, and confusing, and scary, and amazing! The past year has brought so many changes to my life and left me breathless at times. I now look back at how my life changed in just several months and I can hardly believe it. But I am happy and satisfied. I live with my husband after so many years of distance. It might not be perfect. It might be difficult at times. It might be confusing and all sorts of crazy. But I get to go to bed with him every night and I’d say that’s pretty much what life is about – being with the one person who makes you complete. So here’s to even more love and happiness in 2014! Cheers my friends!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!