Antigua >> Guatemala City.... An important Mission
Nov 4, 2004
|Some of you were victims to my moaning regarding the premature death of my late Kodak camera. By the time I landed in Guatemala, I was still cameraless, as there wasn´t much of a range to choose from in the airport duty free.
Thought I would check out the options in the cute colonial town of Antigua where I was acclimatising. Having walked many times around the city, up and down various (and many same) streets hunting out the options, was pretty disappointed with the results. Very very expensive - twice as much as in the UK for the same model, plus not many to choose from.
My options in purchasing a camera were as follows:
Buy an expensive one, and unsatisfactory model in Antigua...
Check out the range in Guatemala City (the capital city), where there will surely be more choices...
Have one sent over from the UK... but expensive and lengthly transit, plus the likihood of being stuck in immigration with additional tax slapped on top...
Buy one from a US website - but none seem to deliver to Guatemala...
Of course looking at Guatemalan websites proved fruitless...
Or, fly over to the States, where it´ll be cheaper and more to choose from...
People thought I was very strange to have even thought of the US option, but being without a camera in so many new and exciting, not to mention awesome landscaped places simply made me so unhappy! I was relucant to even explore Antigua properly, because I couldn´t take pictures of all these fantastic views!!! As I had a few days to explore neighbouring towns and cities, I obviously didn´t want to be without a camera!
In the end, I considered the Guatemala City option to be the best one, although was not sure if that was possible as there were many road blocks the previous day. Was also worried about going through the Zone 1, where the chicken bus terminates, as it is well known for petite and not so petite crimes. Luckily my trusty Lonely Planet guide shows that there is a big shopping centre "Centro Commercial Los Proceres" with electronic items near the airport. I even managed to pay for a passage in a shuttle at a fairly reasonable price. Especially when the shuttle turns out to be a private car, which would take me right to the centre.
Unfortunately was still pretty unhappy with the range there, and as I was about to give up on getting an ideal camera at a desirbale price, a very helpful sales assistant in the department store told me about a new shopping centre down the road - about 10 mins drive.
So off I went, in pursuit of some materialistic pleasures, walking along a dusty highway for about 10 mins before giving to the chicken bus option. Although I don´t think I found the camera specialist store I was told about, I did find lots of very enthusisatic and helpful young (male) shop assistants who were happy to decipher my random Spanish words mixed with English garblings.
It is more expensive that I would pay for originally, but at least it has all the functions I needed. And - even managed to get a discount when I said I didn´t need the (8MB) memory card included with the camera (though the assistants gave it to me anyway). This was achieved by writing the price in my sketch book (a very useful tool) and slashing it to another price. Maybe the begging gestures helped as well...!
And so, I was happy with the successful outcome of my Mission - I am able to go trigger happy with taking photos, and no longer feeling I´m missing a vital part of my body! Even managed to chicken bus it back to the centre (following instructions of course) and found my way on the chicken bus back to Antigua - all before sunset!
But that´s another story!