Between internet and transportation costs, universities and computer shops closing Sundays and for frequent holidays, and simply wanting some privacy and a quiet environment conducive to writing, I made the decision to invest in a laptop.
Just about everyone who hosted me on my trip used a laptop, which meant my dusty old desktop in storage at home was going to be a thing of the past one way or another.
I checked the price of a Compaq laptop I’d been blogging on regularly for several weeks at Carrefour and Exito. It cost about $600. I thought that seemed reasonable, which was a sign of how behind the times I am with regard to the cost of laptops.
When I checked the Best Buy website to get a sense of the cost differential between prices here and in the USA, I was surprised to find the same laptop listed at $380!
A 30% difference meant there was no way I was going to buy a laptop in Colombia if I could help it, especially since I am looking at it as an investment for the next several years, not just a way to get my hands on some cheap electronics.
Enter Henry, who mentioned an American friend, Allen, who was going to be moving to Medellin in a few weeks to teach English.
Allen had previously talked about buying some computers in the US and bringing them to Colombia to sell for a profit. From the cafeteria in Exito, Henry called Allen and I introduced myself and broached the idea of him buying a laptop on my behalf. He was open to the idea, and the ball was rolling.
Next, I had to decide on a model. I was really drawn to the HP entertainment notebooks at the stores here, but with the top end model going for $1,200, it seemed WAY out of my range.
But then I turned back to Best Buy and found a similar, if not slightly better model, for only $700! I sent Allen the model information, and a day or two before he left Florida, he bought me the computer.
Rewind one week, and there I am at the Estadio metro station, meeting up with Allen for some fresh fruit and coffee.
We take a taxi back to the apartment he just leased, and he presents me with (in a Gollum-esque voice) *my precious HP Pavilion dv5-1235dx entertainment notebook.*
We get to know each other better, I test out the laptop, sign a handwritten contract agreeing to pay him the total cost (plus $50 for the help), and grab a taxi back to Envigado.
Between being sick with a cold (no, not the swine flu!) last weekend, and having a new toy, I holed myself up in the apartment and got acquainted with what it felt like to have a solid, personal, home computer at my disposal again.