Only in Pakistan – Moving House
This week I finally got to move out of my hotel home for the last 3 1/2 weeks and into my new real ‘home’ which was something to look forward to, and finally I could unpack my cases and have some room to move! The excitement levels were high and the home is brand new, the top-level of a home in Model Town, close to my office and school and a couple of stores. The perfect location. Below are a lovely local family with a couple of young kids, the home has security cameras, screens fitted to al windows and soon to the roof area (which is an open area the size of the home), along with downstairs people having their own guard etc. A great place for the family especially if I am away, as there are plenty of safeguards in place, as a precaution. This was a great find by my work colleague Usman, who has been a life saver helping with the day to day stuff!
So you can imagine my eagerness to get in and settle in.
This has been a little bit short-lived, due to some of the ‘only in Pakistan’ scenarios that I am getting to live with and work around, as well as taking a few ‘chill pills’ along the way.
The hot water didn’t work…and still doesn’t!
Last night I had a cold shower, and again this morning, and most probably tonight as it still isn’t working. The heating unit appears broken, I have spent 7 hours at home waiting, watching, and wondering what is going on as Urdu discussions, arguments and general comings and goings of the owners, their staff, the guards, tradesmen, Pizza Hut maintenance and electrical staff all ‘work’ on the issue, to no avail. Maybe tomorrow….i forgot how bad a cold shower is as you lather up, and run in and out and gasp for breath as you try to wash yourself…we won’t even talk about shrinkage, as this is a family show!
I had no gas, until 8pm tonight.
The gas top stove wasn’t working, the gas heater wasn’t working, and again, an army of people came, went and eventually got it going. But to get it going requires the skills of taking what feels like your life into your own hands to light it. A ‘Booster’ unit was drilled through the bench and connected to draw gas pressure up from the floor below due to energy issues. To light the gas you turn on the gas, then turn on the machine, then light and duck as the gas explodes out in an almighty flame, but lights and works…To turn it off, you have to turn off the gas first, then the power point, the reverse order will cause a build up of gas pressure that may explode! I used it tonight and whilst scary, it will be manageable, as long as the order is correct…I think a job aid may be needed for the wall!
Then there are the other ‘half finished items in the house!
The house comes with 8 CCTV cameras and screens. This is great, you can see all parts of the house, entry, roof, sides etc. Or so you should be able to! The cameras aren’t working, and another team have been in, looked at it, it will be fixed ‘today’ or tomorrow, or sometime…So far 3 cameras are working, the gate, the side area below and another view of the road and gate. When working, I am sure these will be a great peace of mind, knowing you can see all the comings and goings at the property and observe generally what’s going on outside. Not that I’m sure what to do if you see something bad happening outside, but they are there.
Unfinished fittings and fixtures
Gas pipes protruding from the wall (I assume for a heater that gas pressure won’t allow to work). A cable from the ceiling for an extra fan that wasn’t installed, some plumbing in a bathroom (one of 4) and several other bits and pieces strewn around the house. I’m sure they all have some purpose, but they are pretty ugly, and no doubt all live ready to zap anyone who chooses to touch them, but I won’t test that. It’s bad enough from all the shocks I got last night when I used the brand new dishwasher and the ‘tingle’ every time I touched it as I unloaded it. Apparently according to our electrician it isn’t earthed!
Miscellaneous ‘coming soons’
The brand new microwave works kind of, you just can’t turn it off so there is something going on there.
The oven didn’t work, but we found it wasn’t connected, so some handy work and the insertion of a power plug fixed that, and it seems to work.
The gas heater can’t work as there isn’t enough gas pressure to light it, so that’s a nice decorative piece to observe. It is one of those cool looking ones with ‘fake wood’ that I am sure will make the room really cosy, but I doubt it will ever see a flame given the gas supply issues!
This brings another challenge of life in Lahore, and Pakistan in general – load shedding.
The power supply cannot meet the demands of the population, so they have mandatory power ‘shed’s where power and gas simply gets cut off for periods of time. This is all planned, and scheduled apparently, and Lahore is on about 5 or 6 hours of no power per day. Some other areas in regional areas go as high as 18-20 hours per day! This means UPS (Ulterior Power Supply) units get fitted as battery back ups to power lights. Houses and businesses can have generators to power the entire house and are essential to run AC units in summer. We are going through the process of buying some UPS for this place, and the cost is about 50,000 Rupees ($673AUD) which seems pretty good. Generators and diesel costs are much more, so that will be sorted later on, in fact one is on its way from Karachi so I am told! Gas supply is usually supplemented by bottled LPG, but this makes it necessary for some planning around daily activities i.e cooking! I haven’t worked out the times, but I know the power goes off around 7am, 5.15pm and during the night, and most probably during the afternoon as well, although I’m out then so doesn’t affect me.
I have a fridge as a part of the house (it is semi furnished) with beds, bedside tables, couch, fridge, non working kitchen appliances, and a couple of cabinets which is good, but the fridge they put in doesn’t fit in the hole! I need to decide how much I will keep whingeing about this one, as it is a bigger fridge, and it does block one of three entry points, but this is a good ‘blocker’ for security, so may put up with it.
So, yes I am in my house, but my house has been a constant frenzy of countless people in and out, with hostile discussions, little action and little resolution. I chose tonight to sit back on the lounge, pull out my laptop and have a little surf and let it all go on around me. There was no point joining in, as I couldn’t understand what they were saying, and they couldn’t understand what I was asking, so best to watch the show unravel in front of me, and what will be will be.
No it’s time to brave that shower!
Aussie in Lahore!
P.S. Oh I forgot to add, there are servants quarters on the roof, but last time I checked there was someone living there, and I don’t have a key to access the roof! I think they are out, but I still need to get access. I don’t have anyone to do my stuff for me yet, just my driver, so this isn’t a top priority to sort out yet…but the time will come I am sure..
P.P.S. No time for that cold shower….