Posted by: James Shannon | January 18, 2011

RIP HP Photosmart Camera: March 2010 – January 2011

I know you were all waiting with baited breath for the latest installment of the Life Of Pai photo essay series, but the internet at the place I’m staying at is intermittent. Not because the wireless router is crappy, or that my room is nine miles away from the hotspot. It’s because the internet access is granted via broadband internet stick. If you don’t have the stick, no internet for you.

Well, I don’t have the stick, so I’m in an internet/gaming cafe, where web surfers rub shoulders with virtual gladiators waging war via Starcraft, World of Warcraft, Witchcraft (obv joking with the last one … me so funny!), etc etc …

No laptop tonight, thus no photos from Pai being uploaded to the net … but I do have some noteworthy news in the absence of spectacular photos/videos that detract from my second-rate commentary …

My HP Photosmart camera has bit the dust water, as my absent-minded tendencies got the best of me today. You see, I decided to change into my swim trunks at the house, as I wasn’t sure there would be changing facilities at the beach I was going to visit. Prudent and responsible I know, but the plan had one fatal flaw … I stowed my camera in my right pocket as I strolled the grounds of the Tropical Spice Garden (across from aforementioned beach), a cool place with every spice/major edible plant in Southeast Asia on its property. This negated the need to reach into my pack every time I wanted to take a picture, but soon the jungle heat began to take its toll on me, thus it was time to hit the Andaman Sea to cool down my sweltering body.

The sight of this tiny, quiet jewel quickly had me under its spell, and I lost all sense and reason. I simply had to jump in the azure, bluegreen water that lay before me. Lying there, I thought about where I had been a mere two years ago, fumbling around in the cold, going to work at a job well below my potential as a human being, sorting through cardboard, shredded paper, and occasional stray bit of rotten food that made it in with the restaurant boxes…

And now, here I was, living the dream as a guide in a world famous national park, with intentions to build a career in the wilds, and spend off-seasons in places like this … palm trees swaying, tropical sea breezes blowing, floating around in a warm ocea — WHAAA OH MY GOD MY CAMERA!!!!!

I quickly got to shore, dried off the soaked unit with a towel, and got the predictable news: it wouldn’t turn on. While I was shocked at what just transpired, strangely I wasn’t upset. Had this been several years ago, I would have been livid, and consumed by the death of an inanimate object for days.

It seems that in the last few years, I have pursued a minimalist attitude toward life … I have come to realize that the meaning of our existence does not revolve around accumulating stuff, but around experiences, relationships, feeling/hearing/seeing mindblowing and ordinary things in the moment.

A camera is not central or necessary to the latter, so it shouldn’t be upsetting. It CAN’T be upsetting. Things like cameras are nice to have, and I will be replacing my $102 unit tomorrow, but I’m not letting the loss of something material and non-mission critical ruin a life-changing experience, which is what this trip has been thus far.

Finally, the old camera may be toast, but happily, the memory card is just fine, so lots of Malaysia photos coming to the blog … ETA Late February!

Heading to Georgetown tomorrow, the main city on this island (I’m in Batu Ferringhi, a beach resort on the island’s north coast and also a suburb of Georgetown, as the place I’m staying is in one of those neighbourhoods), have a great weekend!


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