Last week something amazing and unexpected happened. I was able to access a weak wifi signal from my room. When I found out I could watch Netflix with this less than good signal, I was ecstatic. I spent the next few nights catching up on my favorite shows in the comfort of my own room. Every so often I’d lose the signal and I’d have to walk around my room or downstairs to pick up it up again, but it didn’t matter, I. Had. Netflix. It was something I had really missed, it reminded me of home, and I couldn’t have been happier. Then I had a minor crisis.
One night, after a long and tiring day, I went up to my room for my nightly dose of Netflix, cup of hot chocolate in hand. I got out my computer and sat down on my bed but when I turned on my laptop, I found that the battery was at about 5%. To avoid any unwanted interruptions in my show, I dug out the power cord, plugged it in and waited for the charging icon to appear. Nothing happened. The little charging icon never appeared. No green light came on. I tried moving it around in various positions. Still noting. I tried unplugging it and plugging it back in. Nada. Then, I noticed the frayed section of the cable. Crap. I was going to have to get a new cable.
Now normally this would be no big deal. Back home in the U.S., I would just hop in the car, drive on over to the Apple store and just buy a new charger, no problem. I’m now in Peru, in a small community in the Sierras, so this was not an option… Unless of course I were in Lima, but I’m not. I’m in Cajamarca, about 16 hours away. I knew that Cajarmarca city didn’t have an Apple store and it would be weeks, maybe months (the Serpost was on strike) before I could get a new one sent to me, so I was going to have to think of another solution quick. So I asked around and discovered that in the Cajamarca city there was a electronic repair store that might be able to help me.
The next day I went into the city to try my luck at the electronic repair shop. Not really having any expectations, I walked into the repair shop and explained my computer problem to the clerk. “Aquí hay soluciones (there are solutions here),” he replied.
He took my computer into the back room and came back about 15 minutes later. He had taken part of a Sony power cord fused it with my Mac cord and then plugged it in to see if it would work. I’m not going to lie, I had my doubts, but when that green light came on and the charging battery icon appeared in the upper right hand corner I almost screamed in excitement. I thanked him, paid him his 60 soles (roughly US$20) and I was on my way, practically skipping out the door.
I was on top of the world after the fixed the charger. I sat down at nearby coffee shop, ready to do some work and I couldn’t have been happier that I was finally able to charge my computer. I plugged it in and waited for the green light to come on. Nothing. No light came on. No battery icon appeared. No. This can’t be. Frantically, I went around to all the outlets in the store and tried each one. Nothing. Just then my friend Richard told me that his phone wasn’t charging either, so there had to be a problem with the outlets. Phew. I sighed a breath of relief as we went to go and talk to the baristas to see what could be done to fix the issue. We had them reset the circuit breakers and the outlets appeared to be working, but when I tried plugging in my computer, the little green light still wouldn’t come on and the charging batter icon never appeared. The problem wasn’t with the outlets. The problem was with the cable. I was going to have to go back to the store.
Frustrated, I paid another 4 soles back to electronics repair store. On the way there, the driver pulled over to the side of the road and said he needed to wait for some reason. After about 5 minutes with no explanation of why we were still sitting there I began to grow impatient and a bit worried that he might be in fact waiting for his friend to come and rob me or something of that nature so I asked if he was waiting for someone or if there was something wrong with the car. It was then that he explained that there was a funeral procession coming on the street that we needed to turn down so we had to wait for it to pass by. 10 minutes later, the procession proceeded down the street and another 15 minutes later we were on our way again.
When he dropped me off back at the store I was pleased to find that it was indeed open and the guy who “fixed” my cable earlier was still there. I handed the cable back to him and told him it wasn’t working. He once again disappeared into the back room and came back a few minutes later with a new cable. “Here” he said, “it works now.”
I went back to the coffee shop, plugged in my computer, and breathed a sigh of relief as the green light came on and the charging battery icon appeared in the upper right hand corner. Mission (finally) accomplished.