Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sounds of Oaxaca

In Oaxaca the dogs bark.  They bark at all hours of the day and night.  A couple of years ago, my neighbor of the time asked me about the terriers; three live on the property:

"I like dogs, but they're barking for no reason," he said.

I laughed, "They think they have a reason, or they wouldn't be barking."

A rooster lives next door, if you think roosters crow at the crack of dawn you're correct, but they also crow in the middle of the night, and throughout the day.

Mother Ruth and her terriers
There's a man who gets up very early in the morning and pedals his specially built bike with a very large pot in the front, in which he has tamales to sell.  It sounds as if he's singing "Strum-bo-lee" as he pedals down the street every morning around 8 a.m. and back again about 9:15 p.m.

On any given day, a truck or two with a loud speaker rolls down the street.  One sells various seafood; over and over I hear a man shouting "Mariscos, langosta, camaron, pulpo" (translation:  seafood, lobster, shrimp, octopus) There’s the truck that, as it slowly inches its way,  broadcasts the business of  buying antiques, gold and silver.  Sometimes a new restaurant opens, and a truck drives around the neighborhood loudly letting us know its location, its offerings and its hours of operation.

Then there's the gas truck that makes a sound akin to a deformed, honking goose.  After the honk comes the announcement the ”Gas de Oaxaca," followed by a hokey tune familiar to everyone who lives here, and impossible for me to describe.

There's the guy with his jugs of water, "Aqua, aqua," he sings.

When I hear the sound of chains dragging under a vehicle, I know it's the garbage truck, and my neighbors, along with our housekeeper Ana, will be lining up to dump refuge.

I've been here long enough that a great deal of the time I no longer hear these sounds, but when I take the time to listen; they are familiar rather than strange sounds of my life.

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