If you think getting a motorcycle in to Peru is a challenge, have a go with a camera…….
As those of you who have been following my progress will know I’ve been recording and uploading some videos to my Vimeo channel. The original idea I had for making these was to use a GoPro digital camera which is both incredibly light, tiny and has extraordinary HD picture quality. You’ll remember also that the camera failed in the first few days. I resorted to using my stills camera and an old, slightly down at heel digital video camera which I had as a fall back.
However, the GoPro was still under warranty so from Alaska to Peru I’ve been trying to get a replacement. Enter the hero of our story; a guy called Peter Holmgren who works for the GoPro customer service team in California. Oh, and as in every good story, there’s a villain as well. We’ll come to them soon. Here, then is my tail of international logistics, frustration management and the importance of never giving up if you really want something.
Having tried everything to fix the existing camera through lengthy email exchanges with Peter, we eventually agreed it was beyond an ‘on the road’ fix and needed to be returned for repalacement. Having bought it in Europe, back to Holland it went (from somewhere in Nevada if memory serves me). The main challenge with getting a replacement is that I’m not sure where I’ll be for sure in 3 days’ time let alone the sensible two weeks shipping time needed. So, Peter and I agreed a camera would be delivered to Judith in London before she came out to join me in Los Angeles in July. A camera was despatched from Hong Kong, and here enters the villain of our piece.
The courier of choice for GoPro is FedEx.
They allegedly ‘tried’ to deliver the camera in London so Judith could bring it with her for when we met in Los Angeles. They failed to leave a card when they ‘tried’, so no one knew anything about this. By the time I had chased this up (from Arizona, I think) the camera had been returned to sender and Judith arrived empty handed.
OK, these things happen, Peter and I move on and start to think about getting one to me somewhere in Mexico. This is a non-starter apparently as Mexico can be a black hole from where many packages never emerge.
So, how about Panama City – the Geneva of Central America, surely nothing can go wrong there. Pete ( we’re getting less formal with each other now) duly despatches a camera to the hotel I’ll be in for 5 days in Panama City.
I arrive; no camera.
It’s in Panama City OK, but not due to be delivered to the hotel until the day after I leave. Not a problem, I’ll go collect it from the FedEx main office. I won’t bother you with the details but FedEx failed to respond to my faxes (no email address for them, yes really) and other attempts to contact them. It was impossible to work out from their website where they were based. I eventually tracked the office down, fought the horrific Panama City traffic on the bike and arrived at 13.15 on Saturday – yeah, you’ve guessed, they closed at 13.00. The next place I would be for any length of time was going to be Lima, Peru; so more email traffic and Pete despatches ANOTHER camera for me.
I got the camera eventually two days before I left Lima. It involved (amongst other things):
Was it all worth it?
Well, yes, for two reasons.
Part of the rationale for this trip was about stretching and strengthening the problem solving muscles – and this was a very effective work out, trust me. I’ve learnt a massive amount about being able to have some Zen like patience in a number of situations which would previously driven me into paroxysms of rage.And I hope I can bring some of this back with me to the cosy first world living standards in the UK.
Secondly, I’ll be starting to up load some of the fruits of the GoPro over the next few weeks and am really excited by the quality of what the camera iscapable of doing. I’ve also had a day and a bit off the bike with some food poisoning which has given me a chance to start to use the video editing software a bit more cleverly.
Like London Buses you wait and age and then.....
Here’s one to get you started, in which I bid farewell for two months to Judith
And another with some more motorbikey stuff and my first GoPro piece to camera - all in one take, no less! And in which I work out how to get the picture full screen....