So I try to balance this blog with both information relevant to future Peace Corps volunteers, ideas of what it’s like in Peru, and thoughts on development/Peru/Peace Corps in general. It’s gotten a little serious, so here’s an easy one:
Should I bring an iPod (or any MP3 player)?
Your music will save your sanity.
While a laptop is a larger beast and might stick out more, the MP3 player is pretty common around these parts. Most kids in my town have USB memory sticks filled with music and then connect them to their moto-taxis, radios, or this recently introduced MP3 ghetto-blaster boombox. It’s like a boom box (fierce speakers, battery powered) but instead of cassettes or CDs, you just plug in your USB and it automatically reads your MP3s.
I don’t walk around listening to my iPod all the time and really only use it when I’m traveling. For the long bus rides (or even the 2 hour rides to the capital city) or travelling, it can’t be beat. When I’m traveling around and staying overnight, I’m likely to stay in the cheapest place possible aka dorm hostel rooms. The MP3/iPod can be a great friend against the snoring backpacker and/or loudly blasting music and/or drunken chatter.
What type should I bring?
I have one of the big iPod classics, and I might actually recommend against that. It’s bigger so not as easily to keep in your pocket, but it’s good to have all your music in one place.
I also use a 1GB iPod shuffle, which is easier to move around with but alas has limited capacity.
Something you might want to consider is bringing an iPod touch. It can play music, videos/movies (great for long bus rides), and can connect to WiFi which is usually available in the capital cities. Phones like Blackberrys and even iPhones can be seen in Peru (well the rich parts of your capital city). Even for me, the WiFi makes the iPod Touch really tempting to buy. Especially when coming into the capital city for a few hours, having the WiFi capabilities to check email/Facebook/news beats the hell out of lugging my 15” Dell around town. So if you’re in the market for an MP3, consider the iPod touch. But, at the same time, don’t go out and buy one if you’re short on cash and/or already have a fully functioning MP3 (part of the larger scale disease future Peace Corps Volunteer shopping sprees at REI).
And I know that I’ve only been listing the iPod and it’s because really, I have no idea what else is on the market – so make substitutions as necessary.