Having ready access to music, I’ve found, is key to weathering any number of trials in Cameroon. Over the last two years my trusty iPod has performed faithfully and helped me to maintain a measure of sanity through the worst of times. Stuck in the back of a sweltering, overcrowded bush taxi for eight hours? No problem. No running water, electricity or cooking gas for a few days, while your house is periodically flooded by torrential downpours? Meh. Rioting and police tear gas forcing you to remain indoors for awhile? Bring it on, I say.
The iPod has taken more than its fair share of abuse over the last two years here. The last trip up Mt. Cameroon was especially rough on it. I suspect that all the jostling on the trail and subfreezing temperatures at Hut 3 marked the beginning of the end. Some time afterward the internals began making a perturbing noise, sometimes known as the “click of death” followed shortly by the dreaded iPod sad face. I ran several hard disk diagnostic utilities one of which revealed, in graphic detail, the bad news:
Well, only 89.5% of it is damaged, so I guess I should consider myself lucky. My 60GB iPod is now, in effect, a 6GB iPod—but not really. The disk is so full of errors that it spontaneously reboots and seeks through bad blocks so often that the battery dies in no time.
Fortune shined upon me, though, as a friend took a trip to South Africa and brought me back a handsome little 4GB Nano. Good times are back again.
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