Earphone Usage is Up in Antigua Guatemala

Earphone Usage is Up in Antigua Guatemala

A few years back LD ranted about all the people she came across wearing earbuds while riding the public transit buses in Toronto after having spent a few years in Guatemala where the practice was rare, if not, nonexistent in the chicken bus rides. I remember her rant because at the time I hadn’t noticed it.

Now, however, very often I see people wearing earphones or the omnipresent “white earbuds” of the iPhones and iPods. This evident increase in earbuds usage has different reasons other than to shut the world out; which is a valid reason on my book.

The more obvious reason for the increase of headphones is the music players, iPods and the generic clones, are so much cheaper now in Guatemala. Entry level portable music players can be had for as little as $25 to $50 for the iPod generic clones.

Another reason for the increase in earphone usage is actually cellphones, many of which now come with hands-free earbuds, as in the picture above, for the making and receiving calls as well as for listening to the radio. That’s right, many cheap mobile phones now come with AM/FM radio and Guatemalans love listening to the radio.

Since we are now talking about mobile phones, I like the opportunity to share with you some great hindsights about cellphones and their transformative power in Guatemala written by our guest author Kara Andrade for Americas Quarterly and Ashoka. Below I will quote some thoughts that I consider relevant, but I suggest you read the entire articles.

Cell phones are ubiquitous and becoming more widely adopted each day in a country where there more cellphones than citizens…

The reality of Guatemala’s Telecom advantage is starting to influence the way people, organizations and government institutions get and provide information. News organizations like Emisoras Unidas, Radio Sonora, El Periódico, and others provide breaking news via text or SMS alerts and ask listeners to contribute news, comments and traffic reports that are often read out on-air.

Technology in the shape of cellphones that are cheap, accessible and ubiquitous is becoming transformative for Guatemala. While cellphones are not the only tool in Guatemala’s development, their role is vital in the country’s gradual process of democratization… (source: Above the clouds, five bars — and more)

The fact that Android is free and open source and now available in places like Guatemala is important because many people in developing countries use mobile [phones] as their primary or only source for Web access…

In Guatemala, long after the asphalt and pavement ends, cell phone networks extend deep into the mountains, and coverage is almost universally accessible. Much to the surprise of its Central American neighbors, Guatemala’s telecom sector is in the top four in Latin America…

The municipality of Guatemala City sends out traffic alerts throughout the day to Twitter and users also contribute development about protests, blockades and construction…

Access is not just for the wealthy or for those with good credit. Anyone can buy a cell phone [internet access] in Guatemala by texting 805 “wap”. Under Tigo’s plan, $.60 per day allows for unlimited access browsing the Internet. That’s cheaper than texting. (source: Androids Land in Guatemala)

I have mentioned some of these facts before, however, it is a pleasure to read them in a well rounded article written by a Guatemalan professional journalist like Kara Andrade.

© 2010 – 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Erick

    Wait, what article?! 😉

  • Luis Samayoa

    Rudy, maybe one day you could talk about why in Guatemala the lower par of the trees trunks are “painted” white.

    Eric, there is a tree behind the girl.

  • The fashion is to carry as much music in the players. Guatemala is a good market for mobile phones, now everyone wants access to internet and social networks. On the other hand, that’s beautiful girl in the photo.

  • LD

    Hey Rudy,

    Thanks for the trip back to the archives.

    With all the chicken bus noise there, I imagine the headphones have to be cranked up a bit higher. Interesting how much technology has advanced over the past few years. And I see the Guate fashions have changed, too.

  • NicWirtz

    The downside of the increased use of inner ear headphones is the amount of cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers that use them. Despite people being oblivious to the dangers this represents.

    That and texting or phoning while driving without using a handsfree kit would surely save a number of lives per year.

    My 72-year-old father-in-law is proving to be an expert in driving whilst multi-tasking and I do learn some interesting new vocabulary from him.

  • Eric

    @Nic – I’m with you on the “oblivious to danger” thing w/the headphones. Here in the great white North (at least, in my corner) there are waaay toooo many bicyclists and pedestrians who launch themselves into traffic, staring straight ahead w/their headphones blasting. I usually shout to them that if they get hit, I will take their i-pod before calling the ambulance. Of course, they can’t hear me … Maybe what we need is a bit more of the Guatemalteco ‘I’ll get there when I get there’ attitude. And, I wish we had tortillerias. 🙂

  • Firelion007

    As for my opinion to your post in FB “¿Cómo se supone que debe lucir la mujer guatemalteca? ¡Arroja tus prejuicios!”. I saw some of the other pictures from previous posts, such as “Guatemalan weekend fashion” and “Guatemalan smile” those are some of the styles and different fashions there are here and they are great. I really like it. I really like what those girls are wearing. It’s also needed to say that the way the girl is dressed in the picture in this post is also nice. Well, that’s my Latin taste preference and opinion… lol

    Greetings brother,

  • Jose Byron Gonzalez

    Interesting take. I hear from my friends in the capital city that going around with earbuds is akin to saying “just mug me now, please” and am always warned to carry two phones. A “frijolito” in case of robbery and a mid-level, beat-up phone in case they don’t fall for it. Never my actual smartphone. Things ARE better in Antigua, for sure.

    To Luis Samayoa: to my knowledge (if your comment was, in fact, a question) the trees’ trunks are painted white for aesthetics and to (supposedly) prevent ants and other pests from making a home in them. I don’t think it works, though.