I’ve spent money on lots of things, most of them truly regrettable. For instance, the 200 or so CD’s I purchased as a young, single professional, flush with disposable income and incredibly bored. I would take a drive over to HMV every Wednesday, browsing new releases. If nothing looked interesting, by god I WOULD FIND SOMETHING. So every week, that business got at least $15 of my paycheck. Most weeks it was more like $30-45.

Do the math: about $15 x 200 = $3000. This is over a few years, and does not take into account all the $20 DVDs I purchased.

As an older, more *ahem* responsible adult, I’ve grown wiser. This has probably less to do with time + knowledge, and more to do with the fact that our lifestyle now means I carry everything we own from place to place. I simply do not have the physical stamina or strength to schlep non-essential crap from one place to another.

In my last post, I talked about Cole’s discovery of amazing things. One such amazing things which I forgot to mention was the MP3 playing cell phone. I first noticed it used by the waiters at our favorite Goan beach shack, who would babysit Cole throughout our meals there. I would hear some tinny sounding music coming from somewhere behind me, and turn to find Cole on the snooker table, cell phone in hand, grooving out to Rihanna, or whatever pop song was currently blaring from every shack that week.

It was a great way to keep him happy, but it meant he now expected to be able to pick up my iPhone and have tunes playing for him while he whirled around shaking it in his little sausage link fingered hand.

Did I mention that when he gets bored he tends to let whatever he’s holding drop on the floor?

Something needed to be done. I couldn’t have him dropping this phone on a whim. Queue the Rishikesh shop where I added money to my pre-paid phone. I noticed a cheap looking MP3 player in the shopkeeper’s glass counter.

“is that an MP3 player? How much?”

“Uh, 700 Rupee.” about $15US

I got cold feet and walked away, not buying the fairly reasonably priced device. When my son dropped my iPhone off the bed again that night, I immediately regretted it, and vowed to go back the next day and make it right.

The next day, the shop was closed. And the next. And the next day. I was in a panic. I had utterly blown my one chance at having something for Cole to throw around while listening to rockin’ tunes.

One our second to last day in Rishikesh, I went back one more time, not expecting anything, but he was there!

“How much for the MP3 player?” I asked again as if I hadn’t already played this out with him. a week before.

“Uh, 600 rupee.”

Woah, okay. $13 bucks is better than $15, as long as it works. He was eyeing it up glumly though, like he knew it wasn’t going to work. I was scared. I took it back to our room in the Ashram we were staying, and after some frightening false starts, I got it to work!

!next, mp3, player

And as it stands right now, this is the best money I have ever spent. No more stress about the phone, a nice long battery life, and Cole loooooves it. Don’t believe me though, watch him loving it right here.

PS: I am incredibly proud to also announce that I made an ebook that takes all of what I wrote about here on the blog from my time going around India by train. Not only is all the material from the blog (cleaned up nicely) but a lot of tips for how to create your own train adventure in India, what to expect when you get here, how to navigate the toilets (hello essential information!) and a wrap up of how the gear held up and my thoughts on India and the trip, in a way I never got to do on the blog.

Surviving the Indian Railway also has tons, and tons of photos I never got to show on the blog, all laid out really nicely. I am really proud of how great it looks, so much so that there is a ten page preview available on the book’s page. Please give it a look, and you know where to find me to tell me what you think! Thanks guys!