Heat and Lack of Electricity

Last night I slept for most of the night in a hammock. I was getting ready for bed and about to put my mattress on the floor—my room is so small that I have to lean the mattress against the wall to save space during the day—when I realized the tile floor seemed to be radiating heat. I was just walking around in my bare feet when I felt that the floor was hot. This was at about 11 p.m. and the sun had been down for nearly six hours.

It was at this point that I decided that I didn’t feel like having the heat from the tiles being absorbed by the mattress and then into my body, so I got out my hammock and its collapsible frame and stretched out there instead. I woke up at 4:30 a.m., and although I wasn’t entirely uncomfortable, I decided to switch to the mattress just for the sake of normalcy. Also, I’m used to waking up in a mattress, not a hammock.

So I slept on the mattress for another two hours and then pulled myself together and got up to prepare for my day. I’d just plugged in my electric water boiler to make myself some instant coffee when the power went out.

I’m not sure if someone is out to get me or what. I’ve been having terrible problems with the electricity supply at my current place of residence: Last weekend the power was out all day on Sunday and I literally woke up in a pool of my own sweat and couldn’t sleep any more the whole day. Then yesterday at lunch time, when I was exhausted and really needed a nap, I had just lay down with the cool breeze from two fans on me, and then the power went out and sweat began pouring off of my body.

So that’s three times in less that one week that the electricity has been cut for me. Only one time has been an all day outage, but these other two times are the most inconvenient times possible: Once when I’m tired and trying to get a little make up sleep, and once when I’ve just woken up and I’m trying to get a little coffee in me to jump-start my sleepy mind for work.

I’ve ranted about the seemingly random power cuts that occur in this country before on this blog, and since that first rant, I’ve read a paper (I can’t remember who by at the moment) critiquing the Vietnamese government for investing too heavily in hydroelectric power as the main source of power for the nation; this leaves the nation too dependent on the weather, and as a result, during the dry season (i.e. now) electricity supplies in the nation are unreliable.

Official statements from the government here state that the nation will develop and modernize within 20 years, or something to that effect. However, it seems like pretty simple logic: if you don’t have electricity, you don’t have productivity. Not just reduced productivity, no productivity. No productivity equals no development, much less modernization. Maybe that’s why the government refuses to do anything or keep any records digitally. At least if it’s on paper, then it’s not lost when there’s not enough rain.

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