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Replacing a Leaky Waterproof Camera in Vietnam

by Bob Kerstetter

A few days ago in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam, our Olympus Stylus 720 SW leaked. Until now it has been wonderfully waterproof, as advertised, for two years. It gave up without warning—underwater for two minutes, then a soft popping sound. That was it.

We needed an inexpensive replacement…

And found one secondhand—a Panasonic Lumix DMG-LS60—at an open-air corner store for Nikons in Ho Chi Minh City.

Five weeks out of its two-year warranty, the Stylus is heading back to Olympus for an examination to find its cause of death. They may replace it—or maybe not. They certainly have no obligation to do so.

While being warned by Saigon locals to wait until Japan to replace our drowned Stylus, we leapt off on our own and discovered our camera store, about 10 blocks from the beautiful downtown post office. After our potential purchase passed all of our quality tests—zoom, focus, clarity, functions, playback and click are the only tests we know—we shrugged, “how much?” Our reply came in perfect American English, “more or less 50 US dollars.” Since no one carries US dollars in Saigon, the math brain automatically started rustling and calculated 950,000 VND, pretty precise for numbers-deprived gray matter. Not being much for haggling in a poor country, we settled on 1 million VND, or $55, more or less.

When we asked about batteries, a wrist strap and an SD card, the store added these, plus a carrying case.

Back near the post office we snapped photos of the grand facility itself, plus some of Regina Pacis Ora Pro Nobis at the adjacent Notre Dame cathedral.

Action in the Post Office, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Action in the Post Office, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Outside the Post Office, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Outside the Post Office, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Regina Pacis Ora Pro Nobis as a delightful resting place - Notre Dame, Saigon, Vietnam. Being wonderfully human, we believe the mother of Jesus is just fine with this photo

Regina Pacis Ora Pro Nobis as a delightful resting place - Notre Dame, Saigon, Vietnam. Being wonderfully human, we believe the mother of Jesus is just fine with this photo

Regina Pacis Ora Pro Nobis. She overlooks the people from Notre Dame, Saigon, Vietnam

Regina Pacis Ora Pro Nobis. She overlooks the people from Notre Dame, Saigon, Vietnam

For 55 bucks we think we got a fair deal.

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