Sunday, April 30, 2006

I'm So Vague

This past week Lahore kicked it up a notch with the heat. We hit around 42 C (well over 100 in Fahrenheit although no one seems to be able to do the math). It wasn't just that hot during the day, but at night as well. It seems the Lahori architects could use some help, because they've built all the houses to keep heat inside. Maybe they've confused the formula for houses with brick ovens.

Anyway, our one ancient AC unit was not working properly, and therefore we spent the whole week baking. AC also didn't work in our company car or the office, and even in the training room at the five star hotel I teach at. I was trying to go the hotel an hour early just to sit in the air conditioned lobby and get a break from the unrelenting heat. I wasn't sleeping well during the week and finally dragged my mattress out on the veranda to sleep outside. The numerous ant bites, or whatever they are, were worth those precious hours of sleep. Really I was just so out of it. On Wednesday the water and electricity (which runs the fans) was on and off all day, and as soon as I escaped the house I was at the hotel where there was also no water to drink and no AC. Usually one of my students arranges drinking water, tea and any admin stuff I need to do for the class, but he had gone missing. I was just trying to keep myself standing up in the class! Thursday and Friday were more of the same, including electricity and water problems.

Lahoris are ensuring me that it gets MUCH hotter than this, up to 50 or 55 Celsius which I can't even imagine or calculate due to my current state. By saturday I was just delirious most of the time. Slipping in and out of heat induced sleep. Woken up by the phone. People speaking Urdu. Apparently 'cause we're foreigners we're being watched by the army or the secret police. Or something. Did I dream that or was I awake? Pretty sure I was awake. It took a lot of mental effort to understand the security guy who was speaking in Urdu, but shortly after speaking to him I passed back out on the couch. If this is April, what is it like in July?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Mmmm Ant Surprise

Ants have become a problem here with the increasing heat. If you leave one crumb of food in the sink you'll have a few hundred ants in a matter of five minutes. You're thinking, no problem, just make sure you always do your dishes right away and clean out the sink. Well that would work if the water ran regularly, but there's a quite a bit of fluctuation in the water supply meaning that you never know when you'll get running water to wash the dishes. So, they stay in the sink and the ants are having a field day.

The other night one of my housemates was eating a Bounty bar (chocolate & coconut) as he went to sleep. He fell asleep with one last bite in his hand. A few hours later, he woke up and felt the chocolate still in his hand. Mmm why not have a midnight snack and finish it off? With his eyes still closed he popped it in his mouth, but to his surprise there was a strange crunch and the candy bar seemed to be moving inside his mouth. He opened his eyes to see his hand completely blackended from the ants which had covered it and spit those little guys right out! His entire bed was covered in ants and he spent the next two hours trying to get them off of himself and out of his room. Lesson learned: don't leave food anywhere near your bed unless you want to be sleeping with them. And don't leave food in your hand unless you want to be getting some of that extra protein ants can provide.