The (Averted) Tea Uprising
Today we experienced yet again something that is becoming a recurring theme: losing electricity.
Looking at the infrastructure around here, it is not really surprising that we lose electricity often. Two weeks ago, we had a string of 5 days in a row in which we lost power between 5:30 and 9pm, each day. And this is in Sumqayit, one of the more modern cities. Since then, we’ve lost power a few times sporadically, and now in the last few days, we’ve been losing it in the morning, at about 7 or 7:30, and it doesn’t come back on until after I leave for school. This is a rather strange status quo for a country that is in the middle of an energy boom. It certainly makes things quieter.
The silver lining we get from this is that it’s now GAS season! Right now, gas, for stoves and heat and such, is at normal levels, but come December 1st, apparently the gas lines jump it up a notch for the winter months. We don’t run out of gas. There’s a very good reason for this: Azerbaijan is a tea drinking country, and a gas-stove country. Loss of gas means loss of hot water means loss of TEA. There isn’t much around here that would cause an uprising, but I think in the face of a tea shortage the people would rise up in unprecedented unity. And the administration knows it.
What IS interesting, though, is that no one seems to complain about losing electricity. It’s just sort of accepted that people will lose electricity, they will get out the candles, and life goes on. This is on one hand refreshing. There is no panicking or anything. Just roll with the punches.
But there is something very wrong, in my mind, with a society that accepts such a crappy situation. Talking with some folks, its rather apparent that the Soviet mindset is again sticking it’s collective head in the ground. The attitude is not, “Hey, let’s hold someone accountable and get better infrastructure,” but instead, “Well, someone should do it, probably the government. Yeah–let’s wait til the government just does it. They’ll do it, right? Right.” This might get to be a little frustrating.