Sunday, February 26, 2012
The luz (pronounced "loose", it means "light" and is used to refer to electricity) has been going out selectively in certain apartments since I got here. The first time the whole building went out, mine stayed out until long after everyone else's had returned. I went so long without complaining too loudly that Pablo finally took pity on me and hired an electrician. Unfortunately, after getting it repaired in my first apartment, I moved to another where the same came to pass after the next altercation with the luz.
After again having it repaired, this time at my own expense, it was revealed that an overhaul of the entire building's wiring is badly needed. Strange little inconsistencies emerged in the process of having my ceiling fan moved. For example, when my ceiling light, which had never work since I moved in, was connected to the same line as my fan, suddenly my wall outlets no longer worked and neither did the light in the bathroom.
Each time the power is disconnected for lack of payment, our luz is connected to the school across the street (whose finances are comingled with our building's), and rationed such that we only consume electricity between 7pm and 7am. Presumably, a month of this is all it takes to pay of the debt we've incurred (including whatever penalty may be applied), because without fail, the end of the billing cycle brings back 24-hour luz. But as soon as the time runs out to pay the following month's bill, we are again returned to the 7-to-7 routine. For my own part, I would love to move, but there just doesn't seem to be anything else in my price range this close to town that has a kitchen. Pensiones (one-room apartments with shared bathrooms and no kitchens) appear to start around $4,000 pesos a month, but with my income, I simply can't afford to eat out every meal. So for now, I wait. And light candles when it gets dark.