When I was first living here I remember there were power cuts all the time, like twice a week, and it was really annoying because it meant there was no fan so you were sweating, no pump so you couldn’t have a shower, nothing to cook your food with so you couldn’t eat, and no wifi so you couldn’t sit on Facebook or even charge your phone/laptop. Also, the power cuts here are across the whole island so for example you can’t just say “ok I’ll go down the road and get a takeaway then” because the restaurants also can’t cook any food. They were normally scheduled and if we were lucky we were told in advance, and they were always in the morning or early afternoon for about 2 hours.
There hadn’t been any for a while but then the other day at about 4pm my fan stopped moving so I knew what was coming. I still hadn’t showered and I was really sweaty so basically I couldn’t leave the house before I showered meaning I couldn’t leave the house before the power came on, and I was really hungry, so me and Hellen just sat in bed complaining.
After a few hours it began to get dark outside and there was still no electricity, which was a bit weird/funny for us because there have never been night-time power cuts here before and the main street, which you can see from our balcony, looked completely different from normal. Normally everything is open (and lit up) til about 11pm and there are loads of people, but this time there was hardly anyone and the restaurants were all dark with some little candles in them. I felt like we were in a little village in a very very underdeveloped area where the day’s activities basically end when the sun goes down because there’s no electricity.
We sat on the balcony for ages just observing this weird situation (people walking down the street using their phone lights etc) but then we realised we were still hungry and dirty and wanted to do something about it. I got in the shower and threw my drinking water over myself to wash, and used a bike light we had in the house to get dressed etc. In this photo (from the balcony) you can see two “chinos” (Chinese-owned supermarkets). The one with the light was the only lit-up place on the street (I’m guessing it has a generator) and the other one is in front of the car with its lights on (their attempt at creating light for people to continue shopping there). Needless to say everyone went to the generator one and the car-light one decided to close about half an hour later:
We took the bike light and got Pringles from the generator chino and sat in the park eating them (very nutritious dinner, as always). Opposite the park is an American-style takeaway/cafe with really greasy food called Golden Grill. It’s painted bright yellow and has plastic signs stuck to it with the price of the burgers etc. There are always people walking in and out and it’s not exactly somewhere you’d go for a nice relaxed meal. With the power cut, it was completely transformed! From where we were sitting in the park, it looked like a really quiet romantic restaurant. No one was walking in and out for takeaways (probably because they couldn’t be cooked) but there were people sitting at candle-lit tables talking and drinking etc. We said they should have more candle-lit nights and they might attract some different customers!
Anyway, by now the power had been off for about 4 hours and a friend told me it was because one of the electricity pylons had exploded, but as with everything I’m told in Bocas, I wasn’t sure if it was true or not. When we were sitting on the park bench we heard people cheering and looked up to see the shop lights coming on one-by-one and life went back to normal.
(PS. This is how you know I live in a developed country, I actually wrote a blog post about a power cut as if it was an exciting event. How ridiculous!)