Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

The Ghost of Electricity

I've been trying for weeks to remember to pick up a slightly unusual light bulb for one of the fittings in my kitchen. I walk through Light Bulb Alley two or three times a week, but always seem to be day dreaming and find myself half way home before I remember. Finally, this morning, I remembered and wandered into my usual shop. For reasons I can never understand, shops in Liuzhou tend to gather in groups all selling the same thing. Where I live is on the border of two such areas. To the south is a long street of computer shops; to the north is the area you need should you require an office or home safe. At various other locations around town you can find streets dedicated to such things as screwdrivers, cigarettes or bedding. We even have a street known to most laowai as Whisky Street.

Anyway, I pick up my light bulb (plus spare) in Light Bulb Alley and head home, happy at having remembered. Back home, I climb up on a stool and screw the bulb into the fitting. There is a loud bang and the bulb dies. I am standing on the stool feeling rather puzzled. The bang did not come from the light fitting. I check out the switch fuse. It is intact. I unscrew the whole switch from the wall. Inside the switch box is total meltdown. The whole switch is black and smoking, but the fuse didn't blow! Of course, it is New Year's Eve and there is no way to get anyone to repair/replace it.

Looks like I'll be cooking in the dark for a few days. Then I will probably go in for a bit of DIY once the shops in Switch Street reopen. The last time I got an electrician in, he spent three days muttering to himself, changed one light fitting and one switch – which broke two days later. People here do seem to have a slightly relaxed attitude to electricity. Here are the meters and wiring feeding my apartment block.

 Neat, huh?

 

Wiring

. This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2006 at 11:13 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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