Blackout Beirut

[ 337 ] lights out beirut

Apparently for the last few weeks Beirut has been experiencing more power outages than usual. Normally we have 3 hours per day where the electricity goes out in various sections of the city. (There’s even an iPhone app to keep track of when the outages will occur in your area as they change weekly). Living in the international school bubble that I do, I never really have to experience that. We have a reliable generator in our faculty housing (and school buildings) that kick on immediately after a power outage so we only have a moment of inconvenience rather than hours. Unlike other people I know in Beirut I don’t have to plan when I get showered and dressed based on having enough light, or when I’ll go grocery shopping based on when I’ll be able to use the elevator to get my groceries up to the 7th floor.

This week though there have been blackouts that have been so frequent and long that even the generators around the city can’t keep up. A colleague of mine said it had to do with workers striking in the power plant. I did a little research and came up with this.

Tonight I was out with some friends when the electricity went out in the bar we were at for almost a half hour. It was completely black inside the bar until the waiters came around and put candles on all the tables. Without the music and lights it was really a cozy atmosphere. We left the bar just as the generator came on but as we walked down Makdissi Street most of the other bars were still without power. It was kind of surreal to walk down the busy sidewalk with the street completely dark, and to see all the patrons inside the bars drinking by candlelight. I suppose this must be something like what it was during war time.

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5 Comments on “Blackout Beirut

  1. Something like that, yes. It’s always incredible to see how quickly the Lebanese adapt to everything; no power? Candles will do fine. No roads? Yeah we’ll walk to the pub. And grab a shawarma while we’re at it.

  2. “Something” like that, but during the war, we had weeks and months without electricity so we didn’t think about it anymore. If it came fine, if not… πŸ™‚

  3. I simply can’t get used to it. It took me a long time to adapt to the daily three hours cut. The last two days were at first funny but the novelty faded

  4. eh bitter sweet, walla but i thought also in some areas it was 6 hours daily cut 😦 , anyways the Lebanese people can adapt quickly but the i phone application to track it, haidi ma hada saba2one aleya πŸ™‚

  5. That’s so crazy. But at least they’re prepared. Being in NYC for the huge east coast blackout in 2003 was completely freaky b/c of course no one had candles at the ready.

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