Kathmandu may be the world’s only capital city with a power issue. I am not speaking of politics, I mean actual electrical power. They call it “load shedding” and several hours a day the electricity is cut in different neighborhoods to give everyone in the city an equal share of the misery. It’s so frequent, the schedule is posted.
Our first night in Nepal, for example, we went to a pub and ordered food and beers before six o’clock, because that would be it until 10:30pm for electricity. Sure enough, nearly six on the nose the music died, the lights went dark, and all we heard was the gentle sound of rain falling on the canvas roof. The soft glow of candles on each table gave it a cozy, warm, comforting feeling.
Since it’s a regularily scheduled occurance (the following day was 5am to 10am, and again 6pm to 8:30pm) most places are well-prepared. Slowly the generators were started up, the music came back on and life went on as usual. For the few minutes the power was out, it was a nice reminder of how we (in the United States) can take the simple things in life for granted. At home, we have hot running water 24-hours a day, and enough electricity to power anything we could imagine. Here, they’re fine with electricity only half of the day, and adjust accordingly the rest of the time.
And God love ’em for keeping the beer cold.
March 2012. (2333)