Mexicans Like Noise

mexican_ice_cream_truck

Yesterday afternoon we walked into town to finally try a smoothie place we’d heard about since arriving. It is the #2 restaurant on TripAdvisor and turns out they do make a pretty good smoothie.

We sat at the counter and got to talking to one of the owners who was a native Mexican who (thankfully) spoke perfect English. At some point in the conversation she declared, “Mexicans like noise, we don’t like it to be quiet.

I can confirm this to be true. Really I knew this just from growing up in Elgin Illinois but living here in Mexico for the past month I’ve truly been able to experience the decibels that are always in the Mexican air.

First are the birds, the true natives of this land. From first light of the day until dusk there is a constant chorus of singing birds. It is quite beautiful and peaceful. But much more constant and loud than any place I have ever lived before. Of course these are natural sounds that no one has any control over. But they are significant enough to mention.

Next we have the dogs. So many dogs. They are just around. Some seem to have owners and homes and some it is really hard to tell but as you walk you are bound to come across a dog every 100 feet or so. Most will be sleeping and even if they are awake they’ll barely acknowledge your existence. But throughout the day the neighborhood will erupt with barking. Usually in the evening or into the night. No one seems to notice or care.

Now we must talk about the roosters. They start early, seem to quiet down during the day, and then start back up again in the evening. And you’ll get the random one or two in the middle of the night. And like dogs they are everywhere. Everywhere.

Just the critters alone would keep things from getting too quiet but of course they are not enough.

Music can always been heard through the day and evening. It seems to come from various parts of the neighborhood but there never seems to be competing sources. It’s like if one guy cranks up the tunes everyone around just listens to his music. If he stops a new source will start in another part of the area shortly after.

And it is always Mariachi music. Once or twice we’ve heard American pop music but it never lasts more than a few songs.

Finally we have the loudspeakers. Trucks of various types that broadcast their wares via mounted loudspeakers.

The most common is propane delivery trucks. There seem to be three different companies and they all have unique jingles that go along with their broadcasts.

The second most common is fruit trucks that are like roaming produce stands that patrol the neighborhoods broadcasting what they have available today. You can hear them coming from blocks away.

We’ve also heard trucks selling umbrellas, household goods, and cure all ointments. And of course an ice cream truck which is what is pictured in the email.

When I first heard these types of trucks in the distance I imagined they were spreading propaganda of some sort. Telling the good citizens about how great their government is. I was a little disappointed to learn it was just a guy selling apples from an S-10.

I can see how this huge cultural difference causes conflicts when Mexicans move to the United States. But now that I’ve spent more time in Mexico I’ve gained a little more understanding of where they are coming from and I am thankful for that.

Understanding people different from me is the most valuable souvenir I can bring back home.

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