Aug. 7, 2008
Guatemala isn’t quiet. I often wonder where the affection for loud obnoxious noises stems from, or why deafness is not a more common result.
There are no sound barriers here. Houses are constructed out of cement block and insulation does not exist. Therefore, something that might have been slightly annoying in the states, but mostly drowned out, is suffered through in full blown clarity. Music is blared, religious sessions are screamed and howled, bolos stumble down the street serenading the town with unintelligible songs and stereos are set at maximum volume for all public events – regardless of whether there are two or two hundred people.
I once sat through a wedding where marimba music was blared so loudly at the reception that you could not hear the person next to you speak unless they screamed directly into your ear. We sat through the event in silence for four hours – and no one danced. It’s not my iPod that will destroy my hearing but this preference of ear-splitting levels of sound.
Even the animals here are in on the conspiracy. Roosters, do not crow when the sun rises, but three hours before and every half hour from then on out for the rest of the day. I swear that the chuchos schedule their snarling brawls for 1 am, directly outside my house.
My absolute favorite, however, is the pig next door, which I have never actually seen. The first day I moved into my new house I could have sworn that the pig was being slaughtered. It squealed, bawled and shrieked with such intensity there was no doubt in my mind that my neighbors would be sitting down to a breakfast of bacon. However, after a few months here, I have become accustomed to its daily death cries that occur like clockwork every afternoon at 4 pm. It’s either cranking out piglets daily or just really hungry.