A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

powering up in Beirut

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on September 19, 2007

I returned to Beirut last night with two very heavy pieces of luggage.

Wow, G said when I unzipped the first one. Thank God customs didn’t search your bag. They would have charged you for all the Big Red for sure.

I don’t know about that. I only brought … well … ten 10-packs. So – ahem – 100 packs of gum. I guess I can see how Customs might have raised an eyebrow at my claim of ‘for individual use’.

My apartment is much as I left it, with the happy deletion of not one but two rats, ugh. And I learned this morning that I have come back in time for the last hurrah of the summer power cuts.

The power cuts are a universal issue these days, and Beirut still has it better than most of the country. We lose power for three hours in the morning, while most areas outside Beirut are without power for eight, ten, twelve hours a day.

Even when our power is on, my apartment often loses power. Why? Oh, because … my apartment, the apartment next door and the building elevator are all on the same circuit. The reason why is a long story involving the previous occupant, an elderly woman who never paid her electric bill and the Lebanese electric utility company, EDL, which insists that the bill be paid before turning on my apartment’s electric line.

As a result, I spend a good amount of time resetting the fusebox. Its a simple process, but not a hugely pleasant one.

First, I go to the fuse “cage”, located next to the elevator base. I swing the handle left to unlock it, then right again so the door can open. I imagine that the two-step process is unintentional (I think the handle is meant to be parallel with the floor, not with the door), but I like the child-proofing result.

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This is what I see when I open the cage door:

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(It was a bit intimidating the first time.)

And this is what I stand on to reach our fuse box:

p1020838.jpg

I open the metal cover and reset the fuse box – ours is the one on the top right.

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… And then I return to making tea or turning on the kitchen light or whatever set the fuses off this time!

One Response to “powering up in Beirut”

  1. sparkleplenty said

    Holy cr#p, LD! That looks like a snake’s nest, and just about as dangerous. Wear rubber soled shoes, sweetie.
    (What is it with our family and Big Red, anyway?!)

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