I took these pictures as my flight was departing from Karachi, Pakistan when I was there for a brief stop on my flight from Muscat, Oman to Bangkok, Thailand.
The darkness you see in the picture is not a lake or a large bay. It’s in fact, a populated metropolitan area that lost power. How do I know this?
Because the “lights” went out seconds before I snapped the pictures. I found it fascinating that only this part of the city is without power while the surrounding areas are still illuminated. If you look closely, you can see tiny dots of light in a single file line. Those lights are car headlights driving through the blacked out part of the city.
The black outs are common occurrences called load shedding because certain parts of the electrical grid are intentionally shut down because electricity demand outpaces the supply. For the locals that live there, load shedding is just a normal way of life.
For most of us living in the States, we’re used to having reliable electricity(except for a few brown outs during hot summer days) that we take it for granted.
When I spent some time in Nepal, load shedding occured around 9 or 10 PM and I had to plan my evening rituals in anticipation of it. Meaning that it, I had to have: a flash light ready, taken a shower(taking a shower in a dark bathroom is not fun), and something to read.
Now major hotels and businesses have large generators to have continuous electricity for guests. Specifically, the Hyatt, Radisson, and Crown Plaza in Kathmandu had a method of supplying continuous electricity to all guests. For those that are staying at these hotels, they won’t experience the inconvenience of load shedding.
Now, the hotel that arranged by my guide group for the Everest Base Camp Trek was not one of these Western Chain hotels, but rather a locally owned hotel. For the short amount of time I spent in Kathmandu, dealing with loading shedding was tolerable, but living with it day to day would be a major annoyance.
Since returning from Nepal, reliable electricity is an amenity I’m more appreciative of. For some parts of the world having a reliable electrical system is so foreign, yet it’s part of their daily lives.
It’s easy forget that the rest of the world doesn’t have the standards we’re used to in the States. I too, forgot about the loading shedding even when I was in Nepal. When I first arrived in Kathmandu for the Everest Base Camp Trek, I spent the first few days there to get acquainted with my group for the trek, which is when I first got my dose of life with load shedding.
It wasn’t until I returned from the Everest Region, that I was quickly reminded of load shedding, which was absent during my trek.
After experiencing the inconvenience, I’m grateful for our modernized electrical distribution system that’s lacking in other countries. The fact that I can flip on a light switch and have light or grab a cold drink from the fridge any time of the day are just a few things conveniences that are simply a luxury in other parts of the world.
What are some things you appreciate more since traveling abroad?