Monday, June 30, 2008

Water Woes

I'm sitting at home hoping that the water will come back on. Water outages are not uncommon here in Russia. It's one of those reminders that while the facade of many things here is of a developed country--Versace, Dolce & Gabana and Nike grace the windows of shops in major Russian cities--the bones are more of a developing nation.

In our old apartment building in Moscow, the djshorna (apartment manager) would post a sign in Russian and English letting you know when the water would be turned off. Usually it was just the hot water that was off, but sometimes both hot and cold. The English version of the sign read, "Due to the prophylactic leading of the pipes, water will not be available from . . . to . . ." I'm not sure what version of babblefish they used to create the sign, it did get the point across. NO WATER (or a very cold shower that morning). This occasional annoyance could be tolerated. It wasn't everyday and water was reliable and generally safe to drink. It's better than Tristan's memories of filling up buckets when the water did come on in Turkmenistan because you didn't know when it would be on again.

I admit, I am getting older. Complaining is still not something I like to do publicly or appreciate when others do it, but I want the water to come back on. I'm tired of camping in my own apartment. The Consulate has done their best by providing drinking water and turning the city hot water back on. Still running water in my apartment would be nice.

I was humbled on my walk home last night from the Consulate after grabbing a shower at the gym. I passed the water spigot by one of the many construction sites around town. There was an immigrant laborer, probably from Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan, filling up about 4 huge jugs of water for his evening supply. His housing, in a metal box in the middle of a construction site, doesn't have running water and I suspect little adequate heating in the winter. I suppose I shouldn't complain; I should be moved to change his situation if I had the ability . . . frankly I just want water for us both.

Now I hear the thunder of rain outside which means my internet will probably go down, AFN satellite will be interrupted and progress on the water main near my apartment will be further delayed. Ok, I should really quit my public complaining!

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