In The Way

On Technology, and Other First World Necessities

The day before coming to Guatemala my laptop broke. Ouch. Since I was
planning on blogging at least once a week, I figured that this might be a
problem. It is.

There is no such thing as an Apple Store in Guatemala. There are apple
dealers, but the only way I could get to one would be by hiring a private
bus from La Union, our Spanish school and host famil provider, for about
$30 round trip. Or, I could take a chicken bus and risk being robbed, shot,
or otherwise awkwardly bodily harmed.

Knowing it would be a $60 roundway trip to a store that might not even be
able to fix my lappy, I decided to look around Antigua and see what I could
find.

An assistant from La Union recommended a tienda to me near Parque Central,
which I had no luck in finding. I called my roommate Ben, who had told me
that tere was some sort of computer repair shop near the market. I walked
around and eventually found a cell phone repair shop, which I figured was
better than nothing. I told the man inside that the “pantalla”, or my monitor, on my apple laptop  was broken, and he got a very shocked and surprised look on his face. He went behind a wall, and came back to tell me in Spanish something like “sorry, we only fix cell phones. But there’s a shop on 3rd Calle that fixes computers.”

Off I went to 3rd Calle. It was a sunny day, and I was pretty sweaty and tired when I arrived from walking around town for about an hour. Upon rediscribing the destroyed state of my computer to this store, the man informed that no, he doesn’t fix anything with Apple, and he didn’t think anyone in all of Antigua did. He told me I should go to Guatemala city to fix it.

I remembered I had received a handout while walking around town about a repair shop that claimed they could fix absolutely anything. So, I walked all the way down 7th Avenida to a shop. The two teenagers in front told me to take a seat while they went to the back to find the repairman. He came and asked to look at the laptop. He saw the destroyed screen and said something in Spanish like, “ouch, dude. That’s bad.” He then told me that he thought he could fix it, but it would probably cost a lot. He checked on his computer and told me that for him to order the part, just the part alone, would cost Q1,600, which is about $20o USD.

So, I left. And I don’t have a fixed computer. At this point I am thinking of taking it to an Apple store in the states to get it fixed. Or just using it as a desktop, since you can get an iPad these days for somewhere between $400-500.

Meanwhile, I have been using my already broken iPhone 3 (not 3G, mind you), which currently doesn’t have a functioning home button. Which means anytime I want to exit out of any app, I have to do a completely hard restart, which takes somewhere around 3 minutes in total. This quickly adds up to a lot of wasted time, and frustration.

I like the idea of unplugging altogether, but I am required to use a computer for three reasons. 1) I am in school. This inherently requires online resources like YouTube, e-mail, and a word processor like Google Docs. 2) I received the Gilman Scholarship for this fall semester, and I have promised to promote the Gilman Scholarship by tweeting, blogging, instagramming, and using other forms of online social networking to positively advertise. 3) I am planning to do a Senior Honors Thesis this upcoming Spring Semester, and I need to start working on some preliminary research for that. Plus, I need to start planning what I will be doing after school, which may or may not be online applications.

Right now, I am using Valerie’s laptop, but before I was typing on the very small screen of my iPhone. Not exactly ideal for blogging.

I wish I could say that I don’t need a computer, and that I could completely unplug. But for right now, that’s not really an option. So, I will continue using my iPhone until further notice. I hope that once I have a laptop again I can blog more properly.

Tomorrow I plan to stop by the cell-phone repair stand and see if the guy can fix the Home button on the old iPhone. Stay tuned.

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