Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Early Consequences of Being Without Hydro


When electricity is cut for 8 to 20 hours per day civil life quickly begins to degenerate. On the left is a photo taken two weeks ago with a beautiful clear blue sky. We could sit outside on our balcony, read books, and drink coffee. On the right is a shot from yesterday at about 2 pm. Albania is a country of about 3 million people, with almost a third of them living in the capitol Tirana. So with no hydro, they turn to alternate sources of fuel. The basic choices are wood or liquid gas, both highly pollutant. It's not cold right now (18C), but you cannot open a window because the smog and the smell of burning wood is overwhelming.

Businesses are being hurt by this crisis. Running a generator quickly adds to their expenses, and many cannot afford to run one for the long term, especially small companies like our local bakery. They've basically closed up shop indefinitely. So when I asked P to go buy some bread- there is none.

In the newspaper I find articles informing us of price increases for several things: power generators have gone up, the price of liquid gas has risen 40 lek (cents) to 120 lek per kilo, and incredibly the price of electricity is about to rise as well. Of course most people in Albania are living on less than $200/month so they can never afford a generator anyhow. Also, running a generator constantly for days on end will quickly burn out your generator and you'll need a new one- a huge expense in a poor country.

And lastly, P came home from work yesterday looking a little green around the gills. He spent most of the night hugging the toilet. He thinks it was the pita he had for lunch. His secretary usually brings him a sandwich for lunch and he wonders if the ingredients were spoiled because of lack of refrigeration. I am sure that is the cause. Many small shops just don't have generators and therefore meats and cheese are stored in questionable conditions. I think I'll try to stock up on tinned goods!

8 comments:

ITS said...

This is terrible. I hope the new govt. works out a deal soon to buy electrical energy from neighboring countries.

Cynthia Rae said...

Wow! What terrible living conditions! Any idea how long this will last?

When my family back home complains about the gas price increases in America, I am always thinking "You think you've got problems over there? There are A LOT worse things then gas at $2.80 a gallon"!

Cyn

christina said...

My goodness! I swear I'll never whine again after reading what you've been going through.

Hope P feels better soon!

hippo_pepperpot said...

I hope things get better very soon for you. I can't imagine having to live like that.

Prairie Girl said...

Your in my thoughts Dear. What a dramatic change your photos show! I sincerely hope that the situation improves and does so, quickly.

Deborah said...

Hi Kim,
Is there an entry you could direct me to that explains why you're in Albania? I'm really intrigued.

Thanks,
deb

btw .. these pictures almost look doctored, but I know you wouldn't do that. Unreal. Be careful.

Deborah said...

Hi Kim,
Is there an entry you could direct me to that explains why you're in Albania? I'm really intrigued.

Thanks,
deb

btw .. these pictures almost look doctored, but I know you wouldn't do that. Unreal. Be careful.

Expat Traveler said...

Wow Kim - I was cringing the entire time reading the news. I can't even imagine being in your shoes. It is a bit scary for sure. I do hope you guys are making he best of what you have.