Monday, December 04, 2006

Urban Camping 101

Yesterday was election day. Municipal, local and even legislative (in the Artibonite, apparently).

But did I care? No. Did I vote? No. Did other people vote? I wonder. The streets were sooo empty, even for a Sunday morning that my mother and I were rather puzzled. My neighborhood was quiet, QUIET, for goodness sake!!!!

So if we didn't vote and didn't go out, what were we doing, you ask. Worrying, that's what! We're down to between 1h15 and 2h of electricity per day. And this does not make us happy.

Our fridge has turn into a pantry, the ants pantry specifically. We practically don't buy fresh anything anymore. Except certain vegetables like carrots or potatoes or onions that don't really need refrigeration. And since we can't save left-overs, we only cook what we can eat in one meal.

Milk isn't a problem since we've been drinking condensed milk for years now. But things like eggs or bread are surprisingly problematic. We now buy half-cartons of eggs, instead of the whole dz but the bread either goes stale or it molds over.

I have mold phobia, people. And it was EVERYWHERE at first. Now that we basically don't get electricity for much of the day, the mold has dried, we cleaned out the fridge and threw out the last 2 eggs.

Needless to say, I'm trying to use as little electricity as possible. So we don't watch tv/listen to the radio unless there's electricity. I don't know when my inverter is going to give out but I want to make what ever juice is left last as long as possible. So only the lights are on at night. Very depressing.

Very little ironing. Which is in itself a nuisance. You see, while knit clothing would be the obvious solution, my clothes are handwashed so they get scrrrrrubed out of shape by our laundress. So I only had regular fabric clothes. Well, cotton = ironing. I haven't figured out the solution to that one yet; don't want to get a wood-coal iron, ecological responsability and all that. Needless to say, handwashing is here to stay since a washing machine would be useless these days. So round and round we go...

Think that's bad? Rumor has it that the first trimester of 2007 (if not the end of 2006) will be completely energy-free. No electricity. Pa p gen kouran menm menm.

This is very depressing, especially when you hear that some neighborhoods already have no electricity at all, while others, such as Cité Soleil or Delmas 33 (nearer the airport, though) have 24h/7 electricity. I have a friend in Musseau who told me they get electricity during the week but not the week-end .

Now, I've lived through this sort of thing during the embargo so I know I can survive it but it's HARD!!! I just know the price of meat is going to soar. And bye bye yogurt, I'll probably have to change to calcium supplements.

All this brings me to Santa and my list. I used to joke during the embargo that we need everything is two sets : electric and manual. Well, here we go again. I call it Urban Camping 101.

As my mother pointed out last night, first thing we need is a solar-powered lamp. Then a dynamo FM radio. And maybe a dynamo flashlight. Oh, and the blender will have to be replaced (I already have a whisk but I'm thinking more along the lines of a meet grinder).

What else? Hum...I'll have to cut off the internet and the cable service so I need some entertainment. Scrabble and cards we already have. (This is the perfect time for me to learn to play poker, btw). I think the monopoly set is still complete but you could come up with a Clue or a Trivial Pursuit, always wanted one of those.

Did you get all that, Santa? Oh, and don't bother hohoho-ing when (if!) you come, I sleep badly enough as it is, a heart attack isn't a good stocking stuffer. So just come, do your thing and leave quietly. Beware of Sophie, next door, she's the bite-and-drag type.

As to wether or not I've been bad this year...well, I'm sure we can work something out for next year. See you when I see you, Nick.

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