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Cancun is relaxing, but it's not always quiet!


 

Mexicans use a variety of signals to indicate the arrival of a lot of different things. Most of these are universal throughout the country, and Cancun is no exception. You're really only likely to experience some of these if you're not staying in one of the major hotels or resorts.

 

Cowbell: In the downtown areas of Cancun, and in general in surrounding towns, a ‘runner’ dashes through the streets in advance of the arrival of the garbage truck. This is the time to take your trash to the corner, and shortly it will disappear.

 

Whistle: Bottled water vendors. Accompanied by shouts of “Agua!” just in case you didn’t notice the shrill whistle.

 

Pan Flute: Bring out your dull knives, and the guy playing the pan flute will sharpen them for you.

 

Jazzy Jingles: The gas trucks. Each company has their own jazzy little jingles on tape and boradcast via loudspeakers on the truck. Those few that don’t just drive around shouting “El Gas!” and banging the cylinders with a wrench.

 

“The Alley Cat Waltz”: Ice cream vendor with a loudspeaker on his/her car.

 

Small Bells or bicycle horn: Ice cream vendor with a push-cart. Might be hand-scooped into a cone, or 'paletas', which are frozen fruit on a popsicle stick. Try the coconut, it's delicious!

 

Car Alarm: Could be an actual car alarm, or could be one of the many extra noise-generating devices installed by many Mexican drivers to hopefully get the attention of an attractive woman or a friend.

 

Bugles and Drums: Either a small parade (Mexicans love to parade), or could be a small (as few as one person) drum and bugle corp that traverse the streets for entertainment. Children who collect ‘cooperaciones’ (donations) will accompany the band, going door to door seeking a few coins as payment for the free concert.

 

Klaxon Horn: Police signaling somebody to pull over or to move their illegally-parked car.

 

Unintelligible Voice on Loudspeaker: It’s unintelligible because either the loudspeaker is broken or because you don’t understand Spanish, or both. In any case, it’s somebody selling something…might be fresh strawberries, melons, shrimp, or other produce. Other mobile loudspeakers advertise repairs for appliances, buyers of scrap metal, selling of furniture, etc.

 

Other voices shouting in the streets (not amplified): You may witness vendors of all sorts wandering the streets of the city, selling fresh cheeses (delicious), donuts, fresh bread, long-handled plumes for dusting the high rafters or ceiling fans, chairs or other furniture, or ????? In Cancun as in Mexico in general, you don’t necessarily have to go shopping…often, the stuff comes to you!

 

Beep, Beep, Beep-Beep-Beep: (Car horn) to the rhythm of "Let's Go Mex-i-co!" usually indicates a celebration of a National Soccer Team victory, although this country is so soccer-crazy they celebrate even if the team loses but made a good showing.

 

Loud Mariachi Music: Somebody's having a wedding party, or a 'quinceano' (celebration of a daughter's 15th birthday, her 'coming of age' party), or other important celebration. In Mexico and Jalisco State especially (Jalisco is the birthplace of Mariachi music), hiring a band is common for any big party. If it's too loud or too late, your best bet is to go join the party. Resident gringos know that to attempt lowering the volume on a neighbor's party is fruitless, so they just go join the party, where they are nearly always welcomed with sincere grace and pleasure.

Click HERE for more on Mariachi Music.

 

 


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