Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Los negocios de Buenos Aires (Ken)

In Buenos Aires, it seems that every negocio is a specialty shop.
Today, in one short stretch of Avenida Santa Fe, I passed a shop that sells nothing but children´s clothes . . .

Next to a shop that sells nothing but perfume . . . .

And a shop that has nothing but Teddy Bears.

On my way back nome, I turned the corner at Uriburu where I passed Aoki Electronic, a shop that actually fixes electronic devices. For those of you in the USA over the age of 40, you may have some idea what I am talking about. Instead of throwing your broken DVD player in the trash, you take it somewhere and they fix it and it works again.

Which brings us to the topic of today´s post--the saga of the video camera, o la filmadora.

You have to understand that getting something fixed in the USA is, for me, a stressful and intimidating experience. I dread the strange noise in the car, the day the furnace won´t light, the lawn mower that won´t start. I know that I am at a distinct disadvantage to the technician who will be making the decision as to what can be done and what it will cost me. So imagine, my readers, what this experience is like for me after being in Argentina for 11 days and needing something repaired.

At this point, you will need some back story.
Richard, my colleague in the video production lab at my college, sent me to Buenos Aires with a JVC mini DVD camcorder so that I could send tapes back to Maryland about Argentina and my experiences here. He would then edit those tapes and play them on the college´s cable TV station.
I got some really good video my first week here: the cemetary, the Recoleta Market. I was starting a story on transportation when the camera just stopped working--no funcionando.
Also, I am on a bit of a deadline here. As I mentioned before, the mother of another colleague of mine in the math department, is here in BA. However, she is leaving Friday. She is going to take the tape back to Joanna (who is picking her up a the airport) who would then take it to Richard at the college, who would then edit it for TV.
However---no power, no ejecting the tape.
Which now bings us back to Sr. Aoki. He is a Japanese man who has had this electronic shop in Recoleta since 1978. Which brings us back to the point of this post--the preconceived stress involved in a repair negotiation. Which now, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, will be done in Spanish. (I´ll pause a moment to let that sink in . . . . . . . . . . .) Moving on.

First off, I made the mistake of initially using enough Spanish to mislead Señor Aoki into thinking I could actually hold up my end of the conversation. Once he started asking me specific questions about the problem, I was lost. !Maldición¡ I would have been lost in the USA speaking English at this point.

We worked it out, though. It will cost me $30 pesos, (about US$10) to see if he can fix it, and he got the tape out, so, at least, Richard can start some editing when he gets the tape next week. I understand that mailing it from Argentina and expecting Richard to get it will be something akin to the Eskimo boy´s carved boat in Paddle to the Sea.

This was a big one, though. I successfully negotiated something fairly technical in a foreign language. I doubt I would have been more successful in the USA. Then again, in the USA, I would have thrown it away and bought another. . .


Chas said...

Pasos del nino, mi hermano.

Caroline G said...

Does that mean "Pass the baby, my homey'?

What th-?

See? You're doing great in Argentina. Saving money already. Repair, don't replace. Atta boy. Really enjoying the blog.

Chas said...

Well, it's SUPPOSED to mean "baby steps, muh bruh thuh," but who knows what it really means.