Sounds Of A Life Style

By Carol A. Curtis

 

ajijic-colonWe have only lived in two locations in Mexico – two very different locations. Our first home was in El Parque, a lovely, gated community across the carretera from Super Lake. The other is our present home in the village of San Juan Cosala. If you heard recordings of a day in each location, you would not know that they were in the same general area in Mexico. Let me show you two life style sound prints.

Early morning sounds:

El Parque—The English greetings are murmured by people getting their exercise walking laps around the condo area. It’s easy to get up speed inside the condo, since the road is paved and pedestrians have the right of way. The chorus of weed whackers, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers fills the air as the gardeners move about. The squeak of the guard’s bicycle can be heard as he does his morning rounds.

San Juan Cosala—The roosters near us begin their wake up call at about 7:30 a.m. This is followed by the Z Gas truck at 8:00 a.m. Voices on the street can be heard as people slowly navigate the cobblestones walking their children to school, going to the little stores along our street, or getting breakfast at the wood pit stand in the middle of the block.

Daytime sounds:

El Parque—On certain days, you’ll hear the shouts from the water volleyball game in the common pool. The continual sounds of the gardeners are with you until 5 p.m. You might hear a truck as it quietly comes through the streets to fill a propane tank or deliver water. If school’s in session, you’ll hear children’s voices at play during recess or the public address system ending recess or announcing a school-wide assembly. Between the approved hours, you might hear contractors working on a nearby house.

San Juan Cosala—The gas trucks make a loop throughout the day offering their goods, ice cream carts begin their calls at about 1 p.m. Depending on the day, other vendors will announce themselves with specific tunes. Need cleaning materials? Wait for the Fabulosa truck to come by. When school’s in session, you’ll hear the handheld bell ring at the start of the day and at the end of recess. You’ll hear family voices when school is out as the parents and children meander home or to the little market stands for lunch.

Evening sounds:

El Parque—If there is a function at the clubhouse, you’ll hear the music from anywhere in the condo. Usually it’s a blend of oldies from the former days of the expats. A little more car traffic might be heard from inside the condo as people leave to go to dinner. The noise from the mall next door begins to make itself known. The movie theater’s sound system sometimes brings a thunder-like boom to the area. The restaurant, Wings, has caused quite a battle due to its loud, techno-rock music that sometimes plays well past midnight.

San Juan Cosala—Evening starts at about 8 p.m. on our street. That’s when we hear Carla chopping the meat and onions at her taco stand. By 8:30 p.m. there’s a crowd gathered for her great food. Children are playing, and their laughter fills the air. Often recordings of Mexican music bring a lively spirit to the neighborhood. At about 10:00 p.m., the sounds begin to die down. The last noise we hear is around midnight when Carla’s husband shuts down the taco stand for the night.

Both of these locations are near the carretera and bring some traffic noise; El Parque has the added noises from being next to the Libramiento. The topes in San Juan mean we don’t hear the sudden slamming of brakes or the screeching of tires as a truck tries to stop in time. The ambulance sirens are much fewer in San Juan, since we aren’t on the road to emergency stations. At both homes we could count on the sounds of dogs barking … even though the dogs in El Parque aren’t permitted to bark, the sound of those outside carries into both homes. Then there are the announcements from the plazas and churches. In San Antonio we heard the early morning rosary; in San Juan, we hear the announcements for special events.

What’s really different between a condo in El Parque and a home in the village of San Juan Cosala is the abundance of children’s playful, laughing voices and the limited amount of English heard. For us, this was the perfect life style choice. Whatever your life style choice is– a gated, expat community or a home in a traditional village – it will fill your day with the sounds of the life you’ve chosen.

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