Life in Mexico is a noisy, relentless business. In my quaint little pueblo alone, the peace of the day can feasibly be interrupted by the exploding of fireworks to celebrate the movement of one of the innumerable saints from one house to another in the town, the howling sexual frustrations of the resident cats and dogs that prowl the streets, cries of salesmen proclaiming the existance of everything from cheese to knife sharpening services (the rear wheel of a bicycle turned upside down affixed to a rotary grinding stone; a fantastic contraption of Heath Robinson proportions) and the roving ice cream vendors, their mobile freezers supplimented with dynamo driven sound systems that play rag time piano classics at a variety of pitches depending on the gradient of the hill that they are trying to ascend, are but a few disturbances of the peace available.
In tribune to this rather wearying nuance of mexican life, I offer my top three least favourite noises since arrival, in no particular order:
1) The gas trucks
The lifeblood of CDC, gas is a commodity worth attaining a monopoly over. This mindset is executed with gusto by the numerous service providers about town. Competing for business, trucks bearing gas canisters roll through the streets and alert the townfolk to their presence by dragging a metal chain behind them, exacting the kind of effect expected by ice cream vans, only on a much more industrial level.
magic captured courtesy of Ann Hadley; thanks awfully old bean.
2) Dolly the Dog
Appearing cute and worthy of lavish affection, this dimiuative incarnation of the dark lord himself wakes me up at any given hour of the night with ear splitting and relentless barking. This trick is also repeated with avid devotion any time that anything (man, beast or inanimate object blown by the wind) passes within fifteen feet of the house. Unfortunate, therefore, that passing traffic is prolific. Other quirks of the behaviour of this entity of aural destruction include stealing the dirty socks from my laundry to line her bedding, chewing on the toes of my bare feet under the table during mealtimes and attempting to escape the house every time I try to leave through the wafer thin crack of the open door.
3) Those bloody rug salesmen
It would not be appropriate to discourse on the nature of Chiapan noise without a hearty mention of the Fiesta de Enero, after which all other noise seems akin to whispers. For a whole month, pillows were pressed to ears as the relentless racket of festivity continued morning, noon and night. At the very pinnacle of this heap of sound lie the rug salesmen, thankfully long gone from town who, at first, impressed us with their relentless amplified sales patter and then eventually cased us to wish for their rapid and painful demise. Established on vast booths containing mountains of rugs and carpets, teams of fast talking carnival folk would work around the clock with microphones strapped under their noses to allow their hands to remain free in order to point at rugs and demonstrate them (surely a rug foregoes the need for demonstration?). The placement of the mic removed all bass from the sound of their endless and apparently mindless rug-related nonsense and this, combined with the offensively loud volume perpetrated by unecessary amplification, created one of the most “character building” experiences of Fiesta de Enero.
Chiapa de Corzo
29th March 2009