Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life on Avenida Langosta

The sounds of life on Avenida de la Langosta (Lobster Avenue in English) give a pretty good idea of what goes on here in this Mexican neighbourhood.

Early in the morning we hear only the sound of the surf breaking at the beach about four blocks away and the occasional car along Sabalo, the main drag.  Perhaps there's the yowl of a cat but not much else until about 6:00.  Then the street comes to life, often first with some barking from the neighbourhood dogs who are tired of being fenced in the yard all night and then from the birds waking up.  These are different bird sounds than back in Canada; not just cheeping and chirping but trills and warbles and shrieks and cackles to bring on the day.

Soon we'll hear the sound of the motorized gate from next door as the fellow heads off to work around 6:20; then more dogs barking and people's voices.  Sound carries well here in the warmth with all the windows open and houses made of concrete.  We can hear many conversations, some melodious, some loud, and the sounds of children's voices.  Pretty soon the doors are opening and closing and cars crank up.  The school bus comes by around 7:30 and picks up some children, followed by the sound of the street work beginning.  There seems to be constant work going on here on Lobster Avenue.  The apartment behind us is being made into condominiums and there's the sound of hammering and drilling from there, as well as digging and clanging from houses along the street.

Then come the water trucks that deliver the big five gallon bottles of purified water.  There are three of them that cruise up and down the streets, each with a distinctive call.  One fellow honks his horn and calls out something that sounds like "a-waah" and another uses a loud speaker to chant something with four syllables.  We haven't figured out what "a-la-wear-ah" means but we've come to admire his ability to repeat it every 30 seconds throughout the day.   Water costs about $1.50 delivered right to the door.

As we head out with the dogs we pass the soft sound of women sweeping the sidewalks in front of their houses or splashing water around their courtyards.  There's often music wafting through the streets as well.  If we're lucky it's soft guitar music or even oom-pah-pah music but more often than not it's banda or just the stacatto sound of Spanish radio announcers.

Neighbours stop and chat, some in Spanish, some in English.  Cars crunch along the gravel and bang through the potholes in the road.  The huge garbage truck comes by three or four times a week and sounds like a tank going over the speed bumps.  In mid-afternoon things often quiet down for a while as siesta takes over, but soon enough things are bustling again over dinner hour and we hear children laughing and playing.

Then the evening begins, often with music from more than one house where people gather. Sometimes they sing together and that's a really lovely thing.  There are fights and calls and hoots from time to time as well. And occasionally a car will drive though announcing something through a loud speaker, but the sound is so muffled that we usually can't hear a word they say.  And some evenings there's the loud trilling whistle of the guy who comes by selling grilled food on his bicycle powered charcoal grill.

All in all it's a noisier and funkier street than the one we live on in Victoria.

1 comment:

  1. This takes me back to last week (seems like months ago now, in the relentless throes of January rain). One sound I do remember is the occasional evening when a cricket (cicada?) would chirp through my window in late evening.

    Beautiful pic from the Freeman hotel. A happy night it was.



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