When is a blackout not a blackout?

If South Africa is successful at the World Cup next year they may well look back at the amount of time they spent in Australia before the ODI series with fond memories. A time of acclimatisation and familiarity, of bonding and developing the trust they have for and in each other.

There are few experiences in world cricket quite as daunting as walking out – to bat or field – in front of a packed SCG or, even more pertinently, the MCG. The chances of a Proteas player experiencing it for the first time during the World Cup are not virtually non-existent, which can only be a good thing.

The chances, too, of the squad becoming a little ‘tired’ and irritable with each other during such an extended time between meaningful games were also limited by the changing faces of the ODI and T20 squads. It all looked pretty good from a distance. But if things don’t go according to plan early next year, the time may still be viewed as an opportunity wasted.

Back here in Bangladesh, the moment nears ever closer when the most daunting journey of my life begins. With both Emirates and Qantas disinterested in helping to amend my itinerary, the Khulna-Dhaka-Dubai-CapeTown-Jo’burg-Sydney-Perth monstrosity is just three days away.

At least there are things to distract the mind. Like the nationwide power-cut yesterday which left us gasping for aircon, among other things. To be fair, the Castle Salaam Hotel in which we reside rose inestimably in our esteem when a generator the size (and decibel level) of a 19th-century steam engine fired up to provide us with ceiling fan relief.

A newsletter was posted under each door informing us of developments. “The national grid has collapsed. We are working on it,” said State Minister for Power and Energy, Nasrul Hamid.

“The power transmission line connecting Bangladesh and India has snapped causing power outage across the country. Repair works are going on,” said Power Development Board’s Rajshahi Division Chief Engineer, AM Masud.

Not content with just two sources, the report included a third: West Zone Power Grid Company’s Executive Engineer in Comilla, Arifur Rahman: “The brownout,” he said, “occurred around 11:30am due to a glitch on the National Grid at Bheramara Upazila’s Sholodagh.”

Much of it was impossible for visitors to comprehend – or even want to comprehend. Except for the ‘brownout’ part. Was that because there were certain, small areas which still had power? Like our hotel? Or what?

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