If you guessed a power outage, you're right! Portuguese borrowed the English word "blackout" and changed the spelling. Entertaining! I was reading the news headline out loud to Alexandre and automatically and ironically stumbled upon "blecuate". For variety, they're also calling it "apagão". You learn new words when you live them! You learn "pia" when your sink breaks. You learn "testa" when you have to get 5 stitches in it. etc.
Anyway, Blackout! What happened?
No one knows yet. All I knew at first was that I was enjoying a new episode of Law and Order and talking to my sister online late last night when all the power went out. That happens relatively frequently (as in once or twice a month), but usually for not more than 30 minutes or so. So I just waited, typed up some stuff from work, assuaged tired grouchy Alexandre who was suddenly left without a fan (and was trying to sleep after being awake for like, 30 hours, poor guy).
But the light didn't come back on. And when I looked outside from our fourth floor balcony, it seemed like the whole neighborhood's power was out, maybe the whole city-- as far as I could see. When it turned back on for an instant, I saw the city come back to life. But then it went out again. I thought to myself, Wow, I wonder if the whole CITY lost power! How wrong I was...
Poor Alexandre was so hot and miserable and just wanted to sleep. It was like 90 degrees in the apartment. (Irony alert: I bought us a little portable air conditioner the other day, and it got delivered today, and we couldn't even use it!) He moved the extra twin mattress that we have out to the balcony to try to rest there. He is much braver than I am-- blackouts don't bode well for people who have had traumatizing events with moths during previous blackouts and other late nights. I laid down on the couch and read by the light of my laptop (how quaint) and tried not to freak myself out. Things are quieter when there's no power, leaving just you, the blackest wilderness, and....
-the other nameless invisible insects and their ticking clicking clucking buzzing knocking sounds that mix in with those of the bats and the giant black crickets
-the quero queros (go down on the page to click to hear them)
-the little brown owls
The worst part? The moths don't make any noise! That is, until they're batting their wings against the walls and ceiling of your apartment and your cat is knocking everything over trying to jump at them. Shudder.
Eventually, my fatigue won out over my fear, and I dozed off. Since I the power had gone out with the TV on, I woke up because it came back on. I woke up Alexandre out on the balcony, inspected the bedroom for moths (with the help of Gatinha, the expert hunter), and went to bed, finally able to enjoy the new little portable air conditioner. (It's actually this. You put cold water in it to get cold air to come out.) (I just realized how many phrasal verbs were in this paragraph. Impressive.)
Today is Alexandre's birthday. When he woke up, I gave him his new shoes (success!) and we turned on the news to get the details of the power outage. Turns out it was almost the whole country, and parts of Paraguay! The only logical explanation is Itaipú, the world's largest hydroelectric dam, which gives energy to Paraguay and most of Brazil (Kristin and I went there!). Itaipu's insisting it wasn't them, except it was.
So yeah, a pretty crazy night! I'm going back to sleep for a bit.