Phuket, Thailand’s biggest island, was my best hope for finding a deal on a new digital camera and acquiring an AC adapter for my laptop. I scoured Phuket Town’s main road and found one Canon 860 IXUS for sale in a Kodak shop. The price was ridiculous – about $60 more than what I saw it for in little Rangon. I brought this to the manager’s attention and he immediately agreed to the lower price (about $390). I had a hard time with this figure as it was $90 higher than what I paid just 3 months earlier in Kathmandu, Nepal (and $140 more than I could get it for via the internet). I decided to see if Patong, Phuket’s most touristy beach, could help save me a few bucks.
I took the public bus to Patong some time before 10am. I got off at the big, modern mall Jungceylon, adjacent to infamous Bangla Road. I found my camera model in several stores for the Rangon price, however none of the salespeople had the power to negotiate so I decided to try my luck with the independent Kodak shop back in the capital.
I walked down Bangla Road toward the beach. Bars and discos lined the way. Hundreds of stools stood empty, waiting for the sun to go down, the neon to light up, and the throngs of package tourists, couples, old white men, go-go dancers, ladyboys, and prostitutes to arrive.
For some reason, I started to take photos of the bars. It was a painful scene. Bangla Road is not pretty in the least by day. I felt hungover just looking around.
It was high tide so there was little of the beach to walk along. Surfers were out, but the current was too strong for swimming.
I caught the bus back to Phuket Town, and after following a series of leads regarding the best place to find a laptop adapter, finally came across an ASUS service center. They could order the adapter but it’d take 5 days to reach me and cost $10-20 more than I might be able to get it for in Bangkok. I didn’t want to be constricted to Phuket for 5 days, so I decided to go another month without the use of my little eeePC.
I did suck it up and buy my third digital camera by day’s end though. I only got a few dollars knocked off the going rate by just taking the camera and CDROM (not the battery, charger, etc.), but the saleswoman threw in a 1gb memory card.