The word ‘blecaut’ is the Brazilian portuguese version of ‘blackout’, and refers to the Brazilian electricity companies’ policy of suddenly disconnecting whole districts from the grid so that they can change a fuse or a bulb or something down at the local substation, and which is why I am writing this blog in the dark: for the past 3 or 4 days we have been subject to the dreaded blecaut 5 or 10 times a day, and (of course) always at night. It used to be worse, as I recall, and I remember some 10 or so years ago the energy crisis in Amazonas was so bad they hired a generator ship (a very weird looking thing indeed) to come all the way from the US (or Canada?) to bolster the city’s supply. Nowadays, there is no energy crisis in Manaus, except of course when Manaus Energia just turns you off when it feels like it.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the power surge that sometimes accompanies reconnection wasn’t sufficient to blow up your new TV/aircon/fridge/computer etc. But it is. So can you run the risk? No. So not only do you get to wake up in the middle of the night (sweating profusely from lack of aircon), but then you have to run round unplugging everything before you’re reconnected again. And then when the power comes on, you have to run round plugging everything in again so your food doesn’t go off (unlike the power – arf), and you don’t steam in your bed. After the fifth time, this gets a little trying, to say the least, prompting me to put irate digit to battery-powered keyboard in protest. Hah! – let that be a lesson to them.

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