Taps and Football

Well, we got taps installed in our bathroom basin on Monday. It has been a long haul getting to this point. Our general water supply problems at home have basically been resolved, even though we know there is a leak somewhere.

There are still a few outstanding issues like “when will the contractor fill in the hole in the back porch outside and re-tile it”. But basically, we are finally over the hill and in theory, it will get easier from now on.

The biggest gain over the last week has been the installation of satellite TV with access to the IndoVision satellite system. It provides most of your standard world-wide satellite stuff (eg BBCWorld, CNN, HBO, Star Sport etc.) It also has the Australian ABC AsiaPacific service which provides a fairly boring menu of older programs BUT replays around 6 or 7 Australian Rules Football games in full every weekend. I am in some sort of football heaven, given I have not had access to this sort of wall-to-wall football for well over 5 years.

But I have learnt one valuable lesson. You do have to be careful commenting on your own water problems (or electricity etc.) to other expats who may in fact, not have very good water of their own and who have accepted their lot as being as good as it is ever going to get.

Water – can I have some ?

I think I have had enough. Its 2 weeks of next to no water in the house. It varies but it seems if you run the shower for 10 minutes in the morning, it will eventually come good. I have measured it at 5 litres per minute at its best. Apparently low-flow shower heads are in the range 7 to 12 litres per minute back in the real world. And high-flow shower heads (as my mother preferred) run at up to 20 litres per minute.

But at night, water will run for about 20 seconds then disappear. Nothing from any tap. Outside, there is a tank full of water and a pump which should be an on-demand pump but it runs 24 hours 7 days a week. There is a big problem. Either the pump is buggered or there is a huge leak somewhere.

Anyway, so I arrive home after a day of intense physical activity. No water. So I decide to try filling the bath from a hose directly from the water bore. I get my Milo, come back and find the bath half full of dark grey water and it smells of diesel. I suspect someone’s diesel tank for their generator has polluted the underground source where we have our water bore.

I contemplate converting to Buddhism again but realise that taking lives is not part of the deal so Buddhism may not be my best option.

Postscript : After careful analysis, it appears that the 3rd segment of hose that I added, had been used to siphon diesel.

The Rat

Well that does it ! The rat has woken me for the last time. I am angry.

The ceiling of the renovated house is just simple plasterboard with no insulation or anything fancy up in the roof. My friends sounds like a Rottweiler up there.

I guess he comes in at night for a romp or something but last night he clearly took a flying leap from a rafter onto the ceiling above the bed. I nearly had a heart attack, thinking someone had fallen through the roof. I couldn’t get back to sleep.

I like the idea of being a Buddhist but I am afraid, I have knocked off too many mosquitoes already and am about to add a rat to the collection.

Is there a Buddhist sect that allows rat extermination ?

A House at Last

After 165 days, we have finally seen the contents of the stuff we shipped here. It has been sitting in a container here in Dili since October, waiting for somewhere to put it. Just smouldering away. By accident, I left a high/low thermometer in a bag (with batteries in it) and it recorded a high of 40 degrees buried deep within.

So it arrived at our newly renovated house. It will be great when everything is in place but boy, it has been a saga riddled with balls-ups from start to finish. I have steadfastly tried to avoid hurling mud online – you never know who might be reading. But I would certainly like to give a few people a good spray.

I am in a spare bedroom looking at the mango tree, sitting at an old wooden table and chair wondering what I do next so I can send this bloody thing. But we do have 2 more days in the hotel, while the furniture is cleaned and everything is washed (that’s us, no paid slaves here). The boys (house builders ?) left the house in a bit of a mess. I think I must have been speaking Egyptian when I said the house needed a clean. Cleaning crew ? What cleaning crew !

So I have done a bit of hands and knees cleaning, 10 rounds with the washing machine, nabbed a few cockroaches, got Handy Andy hands. I have noted down the bubbling paintwork, holes in the grouting between the tiles, fans that don’t work, bath that doesn’t drain properly, etc. etc. And I really wished they hadn’t used the white plastic basin plugs to stub out their cigarettes.

I guess I’ll get used to it. But what I haven’t said is that I have been living this renovation ever since arrival. Up front in my face every day : “don’t do that ! … why are you putting that there ? … you don’t do it like that ! … who told you to do that … that doesn’t even fit ! … that won’t last 6 months … could you clean up that paint ! … but yesterday you told me … you mean we have to pay more for that … …”