My laptop is dying.
I don’t know what is wrong with it. It was fine a week or so ago, but then when I turned on Skype while running Premiere Pro my computer overheated and shut off. Then it did it again. Then it did it just trying to run Premier. Then it was starting to overheat doing just about anything.
I need my laptop. It’s all I have in the way of publishing this blog, editing photos, doing ANYTHING, and this issue is scaring me, as well as making me reconsider my current social life priorities.
It is also a week until I leave for Colombia. Of course my laptop starts to die a week before I leave. I call Lenovo. To have it looked at I have to send it to Texas and wait up to 3 or more weeks. I call Best Buy – they charge $50 to $80 to look at my computer (depending on who you talk to apparently), then possibly also send it out, if it needs a new part, and it takes 2 to 3 weeks. I also call a few local computer fix it shops. They can (usually fix computers in house but one want $125 to LOOK at my computer, while another says they will diagnose it for free, BUT then if I don’t fix my laptop with them, they will charge almost $60 for their ‘free diagnostic’.
And I am aware that my laptop still may only need to be cleaned. But for $50 –$125 just to tell me what needs to be done to my laptop (an everyone refusing to tell me even an approximate cost for just a cleaning), and a 2-3 week turnaround if I actually do need to fix my computer, my stubborn self laughs (literally) at the customer service reps giving me these ridiculous prices, and decide I will wait to fix my laptop until I am in Colombia.
I mean, it’s a Lenovo. I can order parts around the world if I need, and besides, Colombia is notoriously cheaper when it comes to labour anything, and they aren’t these crazy backwoods peasants who have never seen a laptop, that apparently many of my ‘friends’ on social media think they are.
So after a week barely being able to use my laptop anyway in Cartagena, I return to Medellin where Diego uses his super secret sleuthing skills (also known as: the ability to speak and understand Spanish over the phone) tracks down a shop near Parque Barrio that can possibly help us.
We sneakily lug my $1000 laptop through the bustling, and pickpocket-filled downtown area, trying to not let on the value (not just monetarily, but sentimental) riding on Diego’s back, because of course, the overheating issues are also making it impossible to save copies of all my recent photos from Las Vegas and Cartagena to my external hard drive. In other words, I have no backups of my photos.
After about 15 minutes of pushing and shoving our way through crowded streets and alleyways, we come to a little, semi-decrepit looking hole-in-the-wall building. Granted, all buildings here are semi-decrepit holes-in-the-wall, so hey, let’s go for it!
Diego leads us up to the third floor, where the hallway is lined with computer shops, and down a few stores to a place called Unlimited Computers. Diego uses his amazing description skills (a.k.a. being able to talk Spanish again) to explain just what is going on. The guy behind the counter turns the computer on quick, listens, turns it back off and says he can fix it and give him a few minutes.
So after a cold orange soda at the 3rd floor restaurant (because why wouldn’t there be a mom-and-pop restaurant buried on the 3rd floor, of a no-name building, in the middle of a bunch of computer shops?) we walk back to Unlimited where my computer is brand new. Nothing is wrong with the fan, or the heat shield thingies, I am told, it just really needed to be cleaned.
Ok, now, how much is the damage to my pocketbook (well, if I carried a pocketbook). The computer master jokes “Do I even have to charge them?”, but of course, does. And what does he charge?
A whopping $5.000 COP! (about $2.73 USD)!
He also offers to sell us a while computer cleaning kit. Yea right, like I’m going to shell out … oh wait…that is only $5.000 too? Seriously?
Hell yea I’ll buy that!
For 10 mil, or a whole $5.47, I got my computer fixed AND bought a cleaning kit for it.
So to recap;
USA = $50 to $125 to LOOK at and DIAGNOSE my computer with refusal to estimate a charge just for cleaning. Possibly 2 to 3 weeks to fix if it needs parts, up to a week if it just needs to be cleaned.
Colombia = $2.73 and 15 minutes to fix my computer, and for the record, they did not break it, scratch it, need me to show them how to turn it on, or tell them what this newfangled piece of machinery is.
So all I can say is:
IN YOUR FACE USA!
ROCK ON COLOMBIA!
Need your computer fixed in Medellin? This is where I went:
COMPUTERS UNLIMITED CC LA CASCADA CR53 50-51 L-306
Phone (s): (57) (4) 5131141
About Dani Blanchette
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com.
I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I’ve flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion.
I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.