Hot box

Our air conditioning has been broken for the past few days. Not completely non-functional, but annoyingly non-functional. It is a never ending cycle of frustration. I turn on the AC, it turns itself off 20 minutes later. I notice that it is off, turn it back on again, only to have it shut itself off 20 minutes later. I can’t win. I think the timer must be broken or something.

It isn’t the end of the world if we are home, awake, and sitting in the living room where we can turn it right back on, but it is frustrating to come home to a sauna-like house or worse-yet wake up to a steamy house. With temperatures here hovering in the 90’s and the typically high humidity, AC is a must in my book. Especially if I plan to ride my bike in this apartment.

Naturally, we mentioned to the maintenance guy that we were having A/C problems hoping that it would be fixed quickly. Yeah, not so much, when you are sweating bullets on Saturday, Monday seems like a long way off.

This weekend, we mustered good attitudes and keen eyes for the little green light on the air conditioning unit. I endured one two three over the top sweaty workouts on the bike. And, perhaps most of all, we looked forward to getting our A/C fixed on Monday.

Monday afternoon arrived, with it came the air conditioner repair men and, naturally, a big game of charades.

I did my best to explain the problem. “The air conditioner does not stay on.” Simple enough, but that didn’t translate well. My bad, I’m the one here who doesn’t speak the language.

The guy in charge picked up the remote control for the A/C unit, turned it on, and pointed. “On.”

Ok, take two.

“Look! I turn on.” I turn the unit on. “Cold, cold, cold.” Insert me wafting cold air across the room. “Then it turns off.”

The guy looks at me knowingly. He presses the off button as if demonstrating how to use the air conditioning unit. “Off.”

He immediately opens the French doors to my balcony, climbs over the railing, and begins scurrying across the ledge on the outside of the building like he was a secret agent in a movie. I was terrified for him! Plus, I felt horrible that he was out there in danger when I was pretty sure that the problem was inside.

Finally, after he had climbed back over the railing safely, he told me “Fix tomorrow.”

Wait! No!

“Wait” [I know that you danced around on the ledge outside the window for a few minutes, but I don’t think the problem is out there] “The problem is in here. Look! Turn on…cold…cold…cold…turns off.”

“Leave off. Fix tomorrow.”

“But wait!”


“Why tomorrow?”

“Yes. Tomorrow.”

“Not now?”


“Ok.” I give up.

I wonder if the air conditioning would have been fixed if I could speak Tamil? I wonder if he will do anything different next time around? I wonder if I’m completely clueless and if the problem really is on the outside? The A/C seems to work if I can keep it running all the time. I think the problem is the little orange “Timer” light that is flashing.

In the meantime, I’ll be sitting here, fans on full blast, waiting to find out.

  1. Lisa said:

    How frustrating; I imagine there are all sorts of Situations that can get pretty complicated if you don’t speak the language. Hope it really does get straightened out tomorrow!

    • Brit said:

      Tomorrow was today…they never came back. I need to get to the bottom of that tomorrow, um, Wednesday.

  2. jena said:

    Oh man, what a nightmare. Can you get on google translator and type out what you want to tell him, translate to his language, and then print it out for him?

    I hope they fix your air soon. That is miserable.

    • Brit said:

      I don’t know how effective that will be for the A/C guy, but I bet I could totally do that with instructions for the cleaning guy. Hmmm…

  3. Dana said:

    coming from someone who had A/C problems this summer – it could very well be with the outside unit (assuming they are built sort of similar to US kind). Our A/c was doing the same thing … it would kick on and then promptly shut off for no reason — we noticed on the outside unit that the fan motor would stop working which in turn would make the compressor too hot and it automatically shut off. Maybe that’s why he couldn’t fix it right on the spot……(we had to replace the fan motor on ours).
    Hope your “cool” soon!

    • Brit said:

      That is good to hear. Maybe the guy needs to come back with different parts or tools or something?

  4. I’m so helpless with things like home repairs, and languages that this emphasizes to me how even the little things are hard to accomplish whe n you’re so far from the standard comforts of the west. Hope that ac is fixed tomorrow.

    • Brit said:

      I am determined to figure it out today!

  5. Well, it sucks that your AC doesn’t work but I’m not going to lie…I totally laughed at your attempted to communicate!

    Hopefully it gets fixed sooner rather than later and you get all kinds of props for getting the workouts in with a half functioning AC!

    • Brit said:

      I was thinking the same thing…warm workouts may allow me to run outside comfortably when I go to Hong Kong in a few weeks!

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