Day 51/52: Electricity

I'm just having a doozy of a great time! Yesterday morning, I had a fun incident related to my power - starting at 6AM. Typically, I have some morning phone calls starting at 5:30 or 6:00AM, and Friday was no different. I woke up at 5:45 to find that my 6:00 AM meeting had been canceled. Ugh. However, this gave me an opportunity to grab a quick shower before I head into work at 7AM.

During my shower - the power suddenly went out. Now, inside of my bathroom, there are no windows. In addition, the door has to be completely closed once I enter in order to use the shower or whatnot. This basically equates to what is pitch dark. The best part is that I'm right in the middle of the lathering phase of my shower, and so I can't just jump out. Building in the Philippines often have only cold water run to each house/apartment. They have these nifty inline water heaters that super-heat the water in real-time. Bottom line - my hot water ran out almost immediately, I'm covered in suds, and there is zero light.

After a few faults later, a bruise, and an almost slip-and-fall to my death incident, I escaped the bathroom. Whole house is out of power. I'm now thinking how I'll have to traverse 41 flights of stairs to get to work today, and if that was something I was prepared to do. Finished getting dressed and opened my door only to find - electricity - in the hallway. Hmmm. Maybe they have generators to help tennants get out of the building in a power outage.

Next stop - concierge. After a brief conversation, I find out that there is no power outage, and everything is fine. Interesting. Maybe I'll just make a quick stop by my mailbox. Sure enough - inside is a single piece of paper indicating that I had an outstanding balance of PHP460 (~$10), and that my power would be disconnected on Dec. 5th, 2010. What didn't make sense is that I checked my mailbox when I moved into the apartment on Dec. 1st. I received this message dated 11/30/2010, so somewhere in the mail this was lost.

Back at work, I pulled out a shiny PHP500 bill, wrote a quick note to the new Expat Liaison to please head down and pay this bill.

Meanwhile, I did work, took a nice break to go and meet again with Paeng Nepomuceno for another drill. Learned a whole new set of things that again is changing my game. Hopefully I'll have some time to practice tomorrow and improve my game.

Nonetheless - I received a phone call from the Expat Liaison to tell me that they paid the bill, but Meralco (the only power company in the Philippines) hadn't actually gotten around to cutting my power. There must be something wrong with my apartment. Now, I'm feeling off. I'm slightly upset here over the various dramas that are still surrounding this apartment - it took forever to move in, I'm paying past due bills on the part of the tenant, and now there is something up with the apartment itself. Superb.

Came back to the apartment, and started searching the apartment for a circuit breaker. Turns out, the mains power had somehow tripped, and a quick flip of the switch quickly rendered my power back online.

That's how awesome I am. The first thing I should have checked was the last thing that I did.

Other than that, I am still fighting hard to get Internet at my house. It turns out, I am perfectly incapable of getting anything done in the Philippine system. I've tried now to stop by one of the major service centers (Globe) in order to sign up. However, because my apartment is only leased for 6 months, they do not want to sign me a contract. I offer to pay a deposit or upfront payment of the term in order to forgo the requirement. We work through that, and find that I must have official cards to prove that I live here in the Philippines. Fair enough, but I have no indication of when these forms are going to be processed, and I'm not in charge of that process either. I'm stuck. It's the same with each of the other carriers in town, so I'm stuck with horrible Internet, and no real indication of when it'll be fixed.

This really bothers me. Not the Internet - I am inconvenienced, but I am able to survive without in the limited fashion I have access now affords. I just have no idea when it'll be taken care of, and the attitude of "It'll be taken care of" landed me into a bed of hot water with the apartment. I'm not having an easy time adapting, because I'm trying to take control of my own destiny in at least one minor facet of my living here, only to find that I am perfectly incapable of managing my own life while I am here.