Saturday, August 29, 2009

Power Outage

The power was out all day yesterday which meant that there was no internet. I worked until I ran out of battery and then I had to find something else to do. We went out to lunch at the Garden Café. We saw four Union Fenosa (Electric Company) workers waiting in the shade on the corner by their truck. When will the electricity be back on? They are replacing a pole down the street, we’ll turn it on at 4:00. The electric is out in the whole town. There are a few generators running in front of stores, but it is beautifully quiet, no radios, no TV’s no electric tools. The lack of electricity intensifies the usual torpor of the after lunch hours. It was really hot so I laid down on the bed in the cross breeze and took a nap.

I woke up to a strong wind whistling over the roof and through the wires. Cooler air rushed into the room. Soon it began to rain sideways and I got up to mop the water up off the wood and squeegee it off the now very slippery tiles. Why does it always rain right after Christina leaves so I have to do this myself?

Jonathan and I are a little bored with the lack of internet and Moni is coming later today because of the rain, so we decide to go to the supermarket to get some chicken for dinner. Fortunately, Pali has some back up generator for refrigeration. Not that it really matters, Jonathan points out, because they just took the chicken out of a tub that was in the middle of the floor. We pick up a few essentials and head out through the market street. We take the short cut through the market on the street where all the nice ladies are selling fruit, although it all looks a little worse for wear this late so we don’t buy any. We decide to see if we can find Tignieu’s house to get some bread for Shabbat dinner, so we turn into the market to head that way. But now we are in the covered area where they usually sell meat and everyone has left except for a few guys. It stinks. I don’t even like walking through here in the morning. We pass a pool hall and Jonathan says don’t ever walk here by yourself. Don’t worry I say. Actually, that’s a lie. I don’t say anything because I’m really pissed that we are walking this way.

We emerge into the light and it is like a medieval village. A narrow street with high walls, children running through the street, we pass a blacksmith’s shop. Tignieu’s house is two stories and we are glad to see that he is there. It’s dark inside except for the light from his huge brick wood burning stove in the middle of the room. Round loaves of bread are piled on the table and he is raking the coals around with a poker. Tignieu, a sinewy French man of indeterminate age is bare-chested with an apron on and a floppy baker’s cap. Also a dust mask because of the smoke. He greets us with his usual very slow Spanish and we walk in and we see his wife who is making pasta with a small machine. We jabber about the pasta which she is making about one noodle at a time. She doesn’t say a word. We buy two loaves of hot bread and walk home the back way. The street is still quiet but people are moving out onto their stoops in their rocking chairs.

The funeral announcement car drives by. It is an old gray car mounted with speakers that goes through town slowly whenever there is a funeral. There is a recorded message with dramatic somber music giving the details of the dead and the funeral. ‘Profesor Jose Maria Chavez Lacayo, formally teaching at the Carlos Bravo school has dunh dunh dunh passed away at the age of 78. Violin music. May he rest in peace. The family will be present on Calle El Martirio and services will be tomorrow at 9:00.’ Full orchestra swells with sad music.

I once asked Moni, our cook, why they don’t just put an ad in the newspaper. She said, well you can’t expect that everyone has 7 pesos for a newspaper. How would people know when the funeral is?

The power was back on around 5.

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