Iíve regaled other forum members with stories about the amusingly fucked-up world of the Northern Mariana Islands, where Iíve been living for the last several years. Itís a place where we operate what is officially the most corrupt casino in U.S. history, and where legislators go to prison for eating endangered species.
At the beginning of this month, Typhoon Soudelor scored a direct hit on Saipan, the largest of the Northern Marianas, where I live. The winds were so strong that they broke NOAAís measuring equipment. A private weather station recorded sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph) and gusts up to 215 mph (346 kph).
The wind tore the roof off the power plant, and the rain ruined the equipment. The power plant had no backup equipment because it had no money: it had no money because, in a masterpiece of power politics, the hospital and the school system stopped paying their power bills, confident that the government would never allow them to be disconnected.
Now everyone has been disconnected. Itíll be two more weeks before the plant works again, and months before we have enough utility poles to connect everyone on the island. Because thereís no electricity, the water treatment plant and the pumping stations arenít running, either.
My apartment has a diesel generator. We can afford to run it for six hours a day. If I want water, I have to drive to the reservoir with a ten-gallon jug, fill it, and bleach the water to disinfect it. I canít keep food refrigerated, so Iím subsisting mostly on dry cereal and trail mix.
The economy is entirely dependent on tourism and thousands of guests have cancelled their vacations here. The government was already broke: now itís superbroke. (Fortunately, we canít default on our bonds because we donít have any: nobodyís been stupid enough to loan the government money for about fifteen years.)
Most of the places where I like to hang out are closed and Iím tremendously bored and lonely. I offer up this thread for questions and answers about living in crazyland.