Santiago is hardly the ideal place in Latin America to buy yourself a new camera. But for the past 40 hours or so — since my camera got nicked in Quito — I've had no camera. And if you just continue straight on in your travels, without getting yourself a new camera: well, then the robbers have really won, haven't they? Because there's nothing more precious than the memories of a great trip. And so, despite the unfavourable buyer's market in this part of South America, I went out and got myself a new toy this afternoon.
Back in Arequipa, the last time that I was forced to shop for a new camera, I asked the locals where the best "market for electronic goods" was in town. They obliged me, by kindly directed me to their local "sprawl of dodgy stalls selling cheap, possibly-stolen, possibly tax-evaded, possibly-fake electronics" outlet. And, that being Peru, such places are conveniently located in at least one spot, in every major city in the country. And I managed to purchase a great new camera, which worked perfectly for the 2 months or so during which I possessed it, and which I picked up in the market for about US$100 less than retail price.
Here in Sangiago, things are a bit different. When you ask these locals where you can get a nice new digital camera, they kindly direct you to "the malls downtown", where the electronics shops are department stores — such as "Falabella", and "Paris" — sitting next to fancy outlets such as "Gap", "L'oreal", and "Prada". I ended up conducting my search along Paseo Ahumada in the centre of town, which is basically "the Pitt St mall of Santiago": hardly the place to go hunting a good bargain. But apparently, it's the only place on offer around here.
Anyway, I managed to find the same camera that I bought last time, in a little "photo centre" shop along Ahumada — and despite it being without the $100 discount that I was graced with in Peru, it is a great model, so I bought it again. And now, I'm once more the proud owner of a Canon PowerShot SD630 compact digital (with a new 2GB SD memory card inside), and ready to keep pointing and shooting.