I’m one of those people who claims to be non-techie and unswayed by market caprice, but somehow always contrives to have something that’s nearly up-to-date, but insufficiently à la mode that I can lay claim to an air of above-it-all superiority. I think the technical term for it is hypocrite. I don’t have a Mac, but spend far too much time playing with Photoshop on my extra-wide laptop. I don’t have an iPhone, but an Android-equipped phone was inevitable. I spent years failing to understand a simple point and shoot camera, but then someone gave me a digital SLR, and ignited a passion I never knew I possessed.
Take all of these gadgets, then chuck in an iPod, a Kindle, Siem Reap’s hot, dusty climate and the high risk of accidents, and you find you have one very nervous gadget owner. Then, because of the way karma seems to work around here, the chances are high that your computer will crash just as you’ve clicked “confirm”on the credit card details for a last minute flight booking (did it process or not?), or your iPod will go mute as you’re about to embark on a long bus-ride. Or, next thing you know, some drunken eejit will think it’s totally hilarious to throw their mug of Angkor beer over you just as you’re taking that masterpiece picture that will drive all your friends back home in the cold absolutely mental with envy.
And you’re in Siem Reap. There’s lots of dust and statues around here, but new iPods? Or how about camera repairs? The thought of that alone can be enough to make your hair stand on end. As it happens, you’re not entirely without technical support. The advice given here is based on personal experience, following several misguided efforts and nervous breakdowns. The time last year when my computer’s hard drive was wiped not once but twice within the space of a week, without my being consulted in the first case, and in the second case because the whole thing just basically exploded, still makes me wince.
So, dealing with computers. The first thing you do, if you still can, is back up your hard disk. If you don’t have one, go to Rogue, near Old Market, and buy yourself an external hard-drive. They’re crazy cheap now, and 500GB should cost around $80 as I recall. Then you call Thaddée Bechtold at SFPDA, and he will advise you when to drop off your computer so that his team can look at what needs to be done. Thadée has proven consistently to be one of the most reliable and informed tech-heads in Siem Reap. You’ll find a map on their website for getting there.
If it’s game over and you’ve been dealing with SFPDA, they may have some computers that you can purchase or can advise you where to go. If not, then several shops in the centre of town sell computers. It’s hard to distinguish them from one another, so it really comes down to how you feel. There are two on XX
If it must be a Mac, then head to Future World on Sivatha Boulevard (a few doors towards town from Angkor Market).
Camera repairs are slightly more difficult. If you have a simple point and shoot, or low-level digital SLR, then Siem Reap Thmei Photo on Wat Bo Road is the only option that any photographer worth his salt recommends (if you head south from the junction where Wat Bo Road intersects with Route 6, you’ll find them about 50 metres down on the left, there’s a giant, green Fuji sign above the doors). You need to ask for the manager/owner specifically and request that no-one else do the work. Moreover, this shop also has a decent selection of point and shoot and DSLRs for sale if your camera has gone up to that great light-stalker in the sky.
If your camera is more hi-spec, then the nearest camera repair shop is in Phnom Penh or, preferably, Bangkok. In Phnom Penh, you can go to LOT Cameras & Equipment, #208 Monivong Boulebard, a few metres from the intersection with Charles De Gaulle Boulevard. Apparently they’re reasonably reliable, if painfully slow. Don’t book your tickets out of town after dropping your camera off here.
Rogue, mentioned above, is also a great outlet if you’re looking for MP3s including a wide range of iPods, or if you need to repair your old one. They’re also the only place in town you can get a Kindle too, and stock other accessories such as portable speakers.
If none of the above works, it might be time to head to a pagoda and make some offerings.
Near Old Market
T: (063) 761 526
M: (012) 703 264
#615, 6A Steet, Banteay Chass, Slorkram
T: (016) 668 263
Siem Reap Thmei Photo
Wat Bo Road (south of Route 6, about 50 metres down)
T: (012) 978 080
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