Saturday, October 20, 2007

Power struggles

Yesterday I went to the bank to do some transactions including paying my power bill, which you pay at a bank in Honduras, presumably because the mail system isn't reliable enough to send checks.

Anyway, I made the mistake of going to the branch in my local provincial capital, Gracias, which is notoriously incompetent. My site buddy Jack says they have been needlessly difficult with him and the last time I went there to update my savings account booklet, they printed the stuff all over the wrong place on the booklet.

So I go in to pay my power bill, which I haven't dealt with since February. Then, I told them to put Lps 1,000 on my house's account, and then when I got each monthly bill (usually between Lps 75 and 125) it would just deduct the requisite amount, leaving me with a diminished balance. This previous month, I used Lps 128 worth of power and my prepaid balance was Lps 75, and the receipt I got said I needed to pay Lps 53. Easy peasy, right?

Well, wrong. I went to the bank and told the guy I wanted to apply Lps 400 to my account, leaving me with a balance of Lps 347 or so (I'm omitting all the centavos here). Wrong. What he does is charges me Lps 400 from my account, applies 75 to my power bill and then gives me 325 in cash. I say, no, I want the 325 applied to my account, and then he says I now owe Lps 150, because somehow the system got screwed up and the amount that I had prepaid had been magically doubled and transformed into the amount I owe, even after having made the payment! This is unbelievable!

Then Jack, my gringo site buddy in San Manuel, calls and tells me that a big pylon had fallen over so we were going to be without power for who knows how long. I was sad/freaking out until he called back a few hours later to say that we had power, ta-da, so that was a true Ordinary Time Miracle.

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