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Phnom Penh: Chores

My time in the Cambodian capital city was hopefully going to be well spent as I had quite a few important chores to do. In no special order: 1) Fix the camera 2) new hard drive for the laptop 3) fix the motorcycle wobble 4) visa for Thailand and 5) visit S-21.

After a hotel swap and finding a real gem of a place, I headed out to look for a hard drive and to scout out the camera repair shops. I had heard the main area to look for electronics was around the new market. Getting there I had to take the main road which I found to be lined with computer shops as well as camera repair shops. I quickly felt relieved that my choice for coming here was correct.

Hard drive- With all those computer shops (some very large and modern) I was surprised at how difficult this turned out to be. The laptop I am carrying is about six years old and uses the old IDE connection. All the shops only sold SATA style. I lucked out when one really nice computer shop had a few of the old style hd’s. I was able to pick up a 100gb for $50US.

Camera- Like the hard drive, at first glance it looked promising but quickly became a grind. My first and what I thought would be the best all around solution was to go to the Nikon center. Now, this wasn’t just some little combo camera/photography studio type shop, but an actual Nikon only business. That was a mistake. Apparently the owner is the only person that is allowed to know or is able to actually do anything and is never to be contacted. Sweet. It took about fifteen minutes of attempted communications to figure out the above and that the owner would not be back for four days. Great. Next stop was the retail camera shops on the strip. I picked the largest and most modern one and which in turn was full of westerners. While waiting I heard a conversation between a girl and the sales clerk. The girl asked the guy how much it would cost to fix her camera. The guy stated that without knowing the actual problem, the general cost would be between 40-60 dollars. That kind of surprised me as it seemed kind of high for an unknown problem. Hell, it could have rust on the battery terminal or a bad switch and that in no way would cost that much. The lady shocked me even more when she pleaded with the guy that even if it cost more she would pay it. She even did what you should do and repeat the info to make sure there is no questionable issues, but in this regard she wanted to press into this guys head that if he wanted more money, no problem, she would pay it. I felt really good about getting a good deal after following that. I showed him my camera and the problem (camera boots up, lens extends, screen works (menu) but shows no picture, nor does it take photo.) He took a look and told me about 40-60 dollars. I just shook my head and figured I would just let them look and see what they would come up with. The following day I went in to see what they had found. When the guy came back he said that they could fix it and the price would be $45US. I asked what the problem was that would make it cost $45. He didn’t know and went to the back office. When he came back he said there was something wrong with the lens and motherboard. I told him that it seemed too expensive and that I would just take the camera back. He said I would have to return in the evening. When I went back it still wasn’t there and I had to return the next morning. When I finally got the camera back it not only did not function at all, but now there was a dent in the side of the lens housing. I showed the guy the problems and he said that he would send it back to the tech and have it repaired to the way it was. I went back the next day to find that he had forgotten to send it off. Now I was getting pissed. We got it worked out and I finally got it back in the afternoon. The third option to my camera plan was to go to a shop that I had found by searching the Yellow pages on the internet. It was also mentioned in a person’s blog so I stopped there to see what they could do. This guy turned out to be really nice and seemed very knowledgeable. He explained to me that all of the main street camera shops are just middle men and send the cameras to repair shops like his. He said that he should be able to fix it for $30US and that I could pick it up in a couple of hours. Sweet. When I went back, it was not ready (surprise, surprise) and that it was a bit complicated as it was new. I was to come back the next day. The next day I went back to an unsmiling apologetic face. He couldn’t fix it. His recommendation was to throw it away as getting replacement parts for it would be difficult. That was a blow. I questioned him a couple more times about what exactly needed to be repaired. I guess I broke him down enough in that he said he knew of the shop that the main street store had originally sent my camera to. I ended up going to the next repair station and they said they could fix it for $40US and it would take three hours. Not so convinced but slightly hopeful, I returned that evening. It seemed the guy was just finishing up on it and when he brought it out it was taking pictures and the dent in the lens was gone but luckily I noticed that the auto focus function was not working. He said that I would have to come back the next day. The next day I returned and it was finished. Finally.

Motorcycle wobble: Lots of ideas but no clue. I stopped by a off road cycle shop and the guy said something about the back being bad. He showed me that y rocking the back of the bike the rear wobbled a bit. I assumed he meant the rear wheel bearings were bad. He told me that the best place to go was the Russian market. I found a machine shop place and had the guys replace the bearings. I was so sure that was the solution that the next day I left to go to Siem Reap. It was not until I got back on the highway before I learned that the wobble was still there. After I got back I found a suspension shop and the guy took a look. He instantly said that the tires were bad. That actually clicked for me as I had driven for almost 200kms with the tire being warped on the rim. I had new tires put on and low and behold problem solved.

Thailand Visa. A success story. I go to the Thailand Embassy. Filled out the form and handed it in. Noticed a sign in the window that for two months they are issuing free 30-day tourist visas. Score. I returned the next day and picked up the passport. The end. Nice.

So, although it took extra time, Phnom Penh is somewhere you can get stuff done. And I was back to running on all cylinders.



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One response to “Phnom Penh: Chores”

  1. Karie says:

    Well your not so nancy now are you 😉

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