Life in Lahore (for now) is winding to a close. Two weeks worth of teaching, marking, report card writing, socializing, packing, party hosting and running before I leave this hot mess of a city for Vancouver. Did I mention it’s a hot mess here? That I am a hot mess here?
Pakistan, according to a recent article I read and now can’t find, is rated one of the worst countries in the world to live in. Who knew! Normally I would try to negate this with examples of the beautiful places and people, but I don’t have the strength/energy/enthusiasm to try. It’s SO HOT. The heat is melting my brain, incapacitating my thinking, sucking me dry! Other countries are this hot too (I’m not trying to put Pakistan in a special heat bracket or anything), but most other countries (think Kuwait, Saudi, Mexico, Libya) have amenities that allow for a semi-comfortable life in such weather: fans! air conditioning! electricity!
Hot weather in Lahore goes something like this:
- Temperatures rise and slip above 40 degrees Celsius
- People turn on their air conditioner/fans and keep them on.
- The government (even more so than usual) is unable to meet the electrical demands.
- Enter increased load shedding. 1 hour of power on, 1 hour off. Repeat.
- UPS & generators begin to sputter/fail/break down due to overuse (In case you’re not sure, a UPS is like a battery pack that will keep lights and fans on when the power is out, but that’s about it. A generator will power your enter house at the cost of noisy gyrating and expensive gas guzzling)
- It gets hotter… creeping up to 50 degrees…
- Load shedding becomes worse. Now it’s two hours off, one on, if you’re lucky.
- People can’t sleep. Crankiness enters. Hospital visits are made for saline drips and rehydration. Men and boys spend their days in the Canal, the only free water source.
Previously, we lived in a house with a UPS, and at this time last year, we resorted to all sorts of creative undertakings to stay cool. We took cold showers right before bed and let the fan air dry us as we dozed off. We cradled frozen water bottles to naked bodies. We put wet towels in the freezer and used them as our bottom and top sheets. See this post, from the same time last year where again, all I could write, do, think about was the debilitating heat.
We’ve since moved to a compound that has a generator, which means sleeping with the air conditioner on. It’s a beautiful thing, but not a perfect thing. Generators are not made to run for hours at a time, every day, in blistering heat. They break down! And ours has been struggling. We can hear it chugging along and sputtering, the power flickering and failing every couple minutes and sometimes going out all together for long spells. Well 45 minute to an hour-long spell, which feels (enter exaggeration) like an eternity.
You see, the thing about the heat here, is you’re always only just holding it at bay. The second the cool airflow stops, it descends with a viciousness that seeps into everything. My shampoo feels like hot tub water, my shower won’t run cool (and yes, only the cold water is on), my towels, bedding and clothing all feel like they’re fresh out of a warm dryer and the marble flooring could fry an egg. To say Lahore is hot right now, would be an understatement.
And yet, I’m training for a half marathon? I ran 17km last weekend in 40-degree weather at 5:00am? I did the same thing today and am planning on doing it again next weekend? It’s official; the weather has cooked my brain and turned my actions and me loopy and non-sensible. Cool Vancouver weather, you really can’t come quickly enough.