Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is It Just Me? Or is Puerto Rico Noisy and Obsessed with Sirens?

Sorry, no photos this time. I am just wondering if I am the only person who just doesn't understand cranked up speakers, fake sirens, and really bad karaoke? In our little part of Puerto Rico there are parties...or maybe they aren't parties...just really loud music emitting from unknown locations wafting around the hills. We think it may be from the little community churches - kind of an "all call" to draw people in and when they are there it gets quieter (but not much). Sometimes it is parties. We have gone to a couple of these parties and partaken in Velveeta and empanadas and even moonshine. Always REALLY loud music and dominoes.
Another thing I don't understand is how people enjoy singing and listening to bad karaoke? I mean really off key to the point of being humorous! Didn't karaoke go out in the 70's or something? Not in Puerto Rico apparently. Even the bugs are noisy. They sit there on their little leaf couches and the leader gives the "let's start" wave of the conductor stick and everyone starts up. My god, it is like they have maraccas, and violins and those tambourine things. When they get out of sync the conductor pulls it all together and it restarts. And the chickens. Chickens from about 1 or 2 in the morning like the stadium "wave" with the ururursss going round the hills and back. Even the roosters get tired of it and do little half hearted crowing. Gives me dreams of the Wizard of Oz monkey scene where they snatch things up...

But the most bizarre of all the noisiness is the Puerto Rican obsession with SIRENS! Is it because the police and ambulances don't use them? There are people who either honk (beep beep) or drive around with sirens as they cruise the blind curves of the hillsides. Am an insane or does anyone else understand this? Every weekend we see hoards of people on motorcycles all using SIRENS to supposedly fake people out? We all know no one real uses sirens! I was in the doctor's office and someone had a siren ring tone! That is what prompted this blog. A siren! What is the obsession with this kind of noise? How many cars do you pass that have gigantic speakers on them that bleat out political stuff, advertisements etc? Even the ice cream truck is a crack up...noisy of course. But SIRENS? I just don't get it.


Anonymous said...

Hee, hee, hee, THANK YOU, I needed that... I have lived in Puerto Rico for 4 years and I am still perplex and often vexed by this particular habit. Like many other transit related matters here I have grown familiar with but don't much care for it. Driving around here can be maddening and/or hysterical... given the alarming noise levels, animals, panhandlers, people who use the street for parking or just stop to chat-up friends, drive anywhere/everywhere on the road, and generally have no concept of common courtesy or traffic laws and some of my personal favorites, the countless number of cars that could not possibly pass any reasonable emissions standards. I just LUV getting stuck behind one of these for miles on end sucking in the toxic fumes....NOT and the Sunday revelers who casually, no - blatantly, toss their empty beer bottles and cans from their vehicles as they parade down the road often with their entire family including young unsecured children and of course the missing concept of child restraints. Surely you know what I mean, those adorable little faces plastered against the windows staring out with big beautiful eyes, far too precious to put to risk like that. And with election time, forget it....I was relieved to make it home last night with nothing but bright pink paint ball stains decorating my car. WHEW, I feel relieved to get that off my chest ;) I found your site today whilst attempting to identify exactly what a Jobo/Gobo fruit is and I am now just kind of surfing around checking out your posts and links. It is really nice to hear stories from other 'transplants', makes me feel less isolated. I live smack-dab in the heart of the island in a town called Orocovis and work in Barranquitas. My husband is Puerto Rican, we met through business, he was a client of the financial services software company I worked for and one thing led to another and here I am.

Anonymous said...

So it ISN'T just me? Lane "drift,"
cross 4 lanes to go to the mall at the last second, or tow a cow behind your van on highway 2...I'm not imagining these things? Sirens? You hear them too? Glad I'm not alone or insane!

Regarding the gobo tree - it is a very nicely shaped tree that bears thousands of really crappy fruit that it drops continuously. Lucky for us they mainy drop onto the really steep driveway and disappear! It is a very fibrous fruit that I think is inedible. Plant it where you can see it but don't have to smell rotting fruit. There are so many wonderful fruit trees to plant I wouldn't plant this least not with the intent to eat them anyway. I'll try to post some photos of the fruit. katrina

Summer said...

Ah yes, the SIRENS! Not many things annoy me, but I was sitting in my office today and on the 4th straight hour of blaring, ridiculous sirens, I thought, "Okay, this is just f*&^ing annoying" . Have you gotten stuck in a political parade yet? That will set you back an hour or so. One of the mayorial candidates was having a "rally" on the main road, so the rival candidates crew took some white paint and actually painted a "Right Turn Only" sign & arrow on the street to re-direct traffic to their rally. Awesome.