Power to the People?

You can’t win them all: just as I described yesterday as “interesting and productive”, today has been tedious and frustrating.

I woke much earlier than anyone planning a restful day should have to, but slobbed around for quite a long time playing games on my Kindle. Then the power went off, the fan slowed to a stop and the temperature in the room rose inexorably. I would have crossed my fingers while hoping for the current to come back, but that would have made them even sweatier than they were. Eventually, I was forced out by the heat and headed into town on the bus.

First stop P&J City, the shabby shopping mall beside the bus station, where I found an air-conditioned salon prepared to cut my hair and beard. I suggested to the guy that a No.2 would be about right: in return he disapprovingly commented that it must be a couple of months since I’d last cut it. I thought he was going to refuse on stylistic grounds. However he did a good and conscientious job, despite nicking my lip with the clippers.

After that it was back into the heat and a walk down to the Fort, partly to get some of the breeze as it was really hot today. A purchase from an ice-cream seller’s tuk-tuk followed by a Pepsi did little to cool me down, but the breeze helped. I sat and watched tourists taking pictures of each other with tiny bits of the Fort behind them. I know the odd picture of your companions or yourself can be interesting and provide some foreground in landscape shots, but what is this fixation with friends, selfies etc? I wouldn’t go halfway across the world to take pictures of someone I can see every day at home! The Japanese / Chinese seem particularly prone to this.

Shaking my head in disbelief, until it caused rivulets of sweat to cascade down my neck, I went to find some lunch. I had expected “Avocado Prawns with Chips and Salad”, to feature a half avocado, possibly cubed. But it turned out to be some spicy avocado sauce, which was OK, but rather hotter than I thought meteorological conditions merited. The great thing about EGB is the ginger provides the sort of kick you get from a good pint of real beer, but without the alcohol. Those of you who have even briefly bumped into me will know I’ve nothing against beer, but I do enjoy the EGB!

My hopes that the power would be on when I returned were unfounded and you could have baked bread in my room. I tried to lie still on the bed, but the mattress and undersheet soon felt as though I’d had an embarrassing accident, so I sat outside and read until the Kindle’s battery gave up. About 4:30, Poormina beckoned me over and offered me a cool drink, which was very welcome. In the middle of sipping that and chatting as well as we can in English, her radio suddenly leapt into life and the power was back. I’ve now returned to my quarters and the air con. is determinedly lowering the temperature: it’s gone from bread to meringue in my personal oven now!

I have to admit that my non-working times here in SL can be pretty tedious. The table has yet to materialise in my room, so using the laptop is limited to how long I can comfortably work with it on my knee and of course I don’t have wifi in my room. There’s also a limit to how long I want to read and / or play games on the Kindle. I don’t feel the lack of television especially as what I’ve seen of SL tv is absolutely dire: they were advertising the “Weekly Hindi Movie” on the set at the hairdresser, for example: and that was to be a highlight. Heaven help them.

I’ve been fretting away to myself over the last few days about a lump on my jaw and imagining all sorts of horrors: did my Sinhala phrasebook have many words starting a big “C” for example. One of the reasons I had my beard trimmed was to get a better look at it. I’m glad to say it seems to be diminishing and I’ve decided it’s no more than an insect bite, so I’ll live to fight another day! I suppose that discovery counteracted the tedium and frustration a bit.


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