The Zhongguancun tech-plazas are a cavern (well, several caverns) of unearthly delights. Assuming one is any kind of hardware geek whatsoever. Finding the place was something of an ordeal, mostly due to my pig-headed insistence on trying to walk from the nearest metro stop – that will be a fine idea once line ten is open ((about three days after I departed Beijing, apparently)), but encouraged by the essentially fictitious map the hotel supplied, I endeavoured to walk from the ‘closest’ line thirteen stop, which was, uh, a mistake. Much walking, a taxi ride, some more walking and increasing frustration later, I entered a building which sold laptops, and then gradually realised that actually there was five floors of goodies, and across the street, several more complexes along the same lines, but even larger. The setup is essentially a market – thousands of small vendors, between them purveying all manner of shiny. Phones, laptops, music players, camera lenses, processors, motherboards, it’s all here, each brand repeated fifty times over.

To my surprise there was a strong representation of the mothership, but absolutely no (that I saw) Sigma presence, despite boxes and boxes of Nikon and Canon lenses – very odd. The Hong-Kong based eBay retailers certainly have no problem sourcing the Sigma gear, so I’m perplexed by its absence.

The tragedy is, despite the collection of wonders, for me personally, there’s very little I could actually consider buying – phone-wise I’m waiting on the second incarnation of the JesusPhone, I am infinitely happier since I abandoned the PC hardware rat-race, and the video cards on offer don’t work in my MacPro ((Which, as a loyal drone, I blame Microsoft for completely – why the hell couldn’t Vista use EFI?)). I made do with some UV lens filters and escaped with my wallet basically intact – no doubt others are not so lucky. 

Posted Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 under geek, toys, travel.

Leave a Reply