On the surface my life in Azerbaijan seems
pretty normal.Or maybe I just have a different
perspective, now that I have been here more than a year.
The gas situation a couple of weeks ago really
made that clear to me.
week Idiscovered there was no gas.Turn on the stove, light the match, hoping to
cook something for lunch.. and nothing.So much for my dreams of hot soup, or at least a cup of hot tea.No heat to take the edge off of a chilly day.
Instead of trying to figure out why a gas rich country can’t supply enough gas to
its residents, I got out the bread and cheese.I was pleased with myself that I had a shower
a few hours earlier when there was gas in the pipe to heat the water.
Day 2- no gas.My coffee craving was off the charts, but I figured
fruit always makes a good breakfast,and
I was glad I had just gone to the bazar.I had bought everything I needed, because for the previous four days I couldn’t buy anything.There was no money in the ATM
machine, which meant no cash for me, or anyone else.In this cash only economy, no cash means no
shopping. I was thanking my lucky stars
that I had peanut butter in the frig.
Day 2 - Dinner time, no gas, no problem.I knew there was a reason I saved that last
bit of beef jerky.Some tangerines, a
cookie, and I was good to go.Who needs
to cook?Although the idea of a hot meal
was appealing on such a cold rainy day.
Day 3- no gas.I must admit I was trying to figure out where
to get a hot cup of tea, if not coffee.Then I remembered my recently acquired oven. My site mate whose service
just ended gave it to me.I didn’t use
the oven to make coffee, butlater, I
poured my soup into a large baking pan and “baked” ituntil it was steaming.Not the most energy efficient cooking I’ve
done, but I finally got something hot.
Day 4- A flicker of gas.Enough to heat water to boiling in about half
an hour.I am getting tired of bread and
cheese, and I’ve even had enough pomegranates.After meeting with a school director, I find myself temptingly close to
my favorite hardware store.I spot the
answer to my problems on display outside.It’s called a “gas balloon.”A
squat, round propane tank, with a burner mounted on the top.I can’t resist.When the store owner shows me there’s even a
little gas inside, I splurge and bring it home, thinking now I will be in
charge of my own destiny, or at least my ability to cook.I fire it up, and the water is boiling in no
next day I wanted to fill it up, so I wouldn’t run out of gas during some
culinary extravaganza.All I needed was
more money from my accountfor the
taxi to the propane place, and of course
some cash for the gas.Not so fast..the ATM was out of cash…… again.No cash=no gas.