Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Power, Pokhara, Nepal, May 2014


Electricity, rather the Lack of it.....

Living in Nepal can be a frustrating business for the casual Western visitor, especially a first timer from the UK where internet is fast and reliable most of the time, water and gas supply taken for granted and the supply of electricity guaranteed pretty much forever - in my lifetime anyway.

So let's take a look at the electricity situation here in Nepal. It's not constant nor is it consistent. Within one 24 hour period the powers at the helm of national operations decide when and for how long Nepalese are to be given an electrical supply - and it comes in 3 bursts. Typically, well actually there isn't a typical example because it is so random but there are 2 bursts during daytime and a long burst at night - 11pm to 5am or 10 pm to 6am if the authorities are in a generous mood. I have known the switch-on as late as 12 midnight. Day times can be mid morning to mid afternoon then again from 7pm to 9pm, but today, well there's been an almost continuous flow for the last 12 hours with the exception of a few 10 minute breaks.

 So why is it a problem?

Visitors loaded with gadgets may find that critical re-charge needed for their next Facebook session may have to wait and grabbing that cappuccino downtown won't be easy if the power supply is off.  Sleeping at night can be less than satisfying if there isn't the power to tuen the cooling fan or supply the air-conditioner units - yes, it can get pretty sweaty during the hot months. Seems not such a problem in caf├ęs where milk and yogurt are in sealed packs, kept on ice in some establishments. However I won't eat the local ice-cream. That is not sealed and often shows signs of defrosting and re-freezing and dairy products on the whole should be consumed with some caution! The good news is that those larger establishments along the tourist strip in Pokhara and downtown Thamel in Kathmandu have backup generators, but of course the prices in their food and lodgings reflect their investment!

It's manageable for those independent travellers willing to adapt...

On the whole though those gaps in power supply are manageable - there will be some power overnight and it's just a case of remembering to leave those gadgets plugged in and on. And just before sleep, take a cold shower, as cold as you can withstand! Oh, better use a surge protector as of course, nothing is guaranteed around here! So for those travellers willing to adapt then then blending into the Nepali way of life becomes a breeze. Those on package guided tours - Chinese, Koreans and some Europeans then it's a whole different ball game of course.

Why....

According to Mr. P. At the Lumbini Kitchen it's mainly an issue of politics and involves India somewhere in the equation. It's not really my place to mention the C........n word but I would imagine the national power supply and the lack df it is a hot topic around election time!

And that's it. PGH signing off another random jotting from Nepal.

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