Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can you imagine going without electricity, water or a phone for several days straight? Most of you have probably heard about the big storms that the South of France experienced last weekend, and I've been watching it unfold every day on the news. About 30% of my clients down there, and the majority of them are in les Landes, the area that took the brunt of it. It's so strange for me to see all of those tiny towns on the news - sort of like their 15 minutes of fame, though not in a good way.

I haven't been able to reach many of them so far because their phone lines are still out - pretty much every time I try, I get a message saying "This number does not exist". I hope they haven't suffered too much damage though, and that none of their animals were hurt. I'd almost planned on going down there this week too, but I'm really glad I didn't now. Staying in a hotel is already getting old, let alone in a hotel with no electricity or running water!

I guess it just goes to show how spoiled we all are nowadays. I've tried to think about how I would deal here with no heat, no fridge, no oven, no lights, etc - I'm certainly not equipped for it. In fact, the only thing I am equipped for is internet, since my blackberry can act as a modem for my computer if need be! (Though without electricity, my laptop wouldn't last long.) It all just makes what Riana's doing look even smarter, ie going back to the basics and not being a slave to consumerism and technology....

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Blogger Alison said...

Our town has been paralyzed by an ice storm for the past three days. 20,000 people without power, almost half a million without in the entire state.

We were lucky; we never lost power. It's true that we take these things for granted!

Hope that you can establish contact soon and that everyone down there is okay.

January 29, 2009 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

We had an ice storm in North Carolina about 6 or 7 years ago which had several million people without power (etc.) for 10 days or more.

Being a capable gal, I figured we'd wait it out at home but as soon as hubby woke up in the cold, he insisted we go to a hotel (there were sporadic places that had power). Some people didn't have that option, either financially or because the hotels filled up within a few hours.

We didn't know it would be 9 days before our nice part of Chapel Hill had power again. We had to go home to check email and such (phones worked - who can figure!) and after an hour in a house without heat I was so glad to be back to the hotel.

My restaurant was one of the few places with power in the middle of a fairly poor neighborhood that was without power. One old couple asked me if they could sit in my store because their house was cold - they sat there 16 hours every day till the electric came back on. A lot of my employees were flirting with carbon monoxide poisoning because they were heating their homes with propane heaters. I really worried about the non-English speaking community and of course, eventually some family did die of CO.

We do take our luxuries for granted. I'm glad we did survival stuff when I was a kid because for some people, it was like you'd cut off their oxygen and I was simply miserable. We've got to know how to survive.

January 29, 2009 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Jo Ann v. said...

I know how it is to live with water/electricty and even food and medication shortage because I was born and lived in a country of war. When problems like that happen now, I go back to my old habits in a jiffy.
The difference being, back in the homeland, there is no winter :-)

January 29, 2009 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger Bostanna said...

Happened near Boston too:

this winter has been BAD!

January 30, 2009 at 12:34 AM  
Blogger Bostanna said...

oops...end was cut off!

January 30, 2009 at 12:37 AM  
Blogger Ken Broadhurst said...

Walt and I had a wood stove put in here in Saint-Aignan, so now we can have some heat even if the electricity goes off. Our boiler runs on oil, but also requires electricity to run a pump that sends hot water to the radiators.

Last summer we got a gas stove in the kitchen. It runs on bottles of butane, and it means we can cook and heat water for tea or coffee even if the electricity goes out.

It feels good to have those hedges against strikes and natural disasters.

Walt heard about one French woman down south who had electric roll-down shutters installed on all the windows in her house. So without electricity, she has had to live in the dark for days now.

January 30, 2009 at 10:09 AM  

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