street sounds Archive

Mexico City street sounds, circa 1839

There are an extraordinary number of street-cries in Mexico, which begin at dawn and continue till night, performed by hundred of discordant voices, impossible to understand at first…. At dawn you are awakened by the shrill and desponding cry of the Carbonero, the coalmen, “Carbon, Señor?” which, as he pronounces it, sounds like “Carbosiu?” Then

Sounds of the Centro Histórico: the Zócalo

If you’ve ever wandered near the eastern edge of the Zócalo, over by the Templo Mayor, you might have heard them: street vendors selling scarves, hats, sunglasses, purses, desk items and whatever else might be useful from tarps spread out on the sidewalk. As people pass, the vendors call out: “10 varos! 10 pesos mire!

The mumbling street vendor

I heard this guy while I was sitting at my desk a few days ago. Do you know what he’s saying? I think he wants to buy old iron or metal stuff, similar to the La Lllorona lady, but I can’t be sure. Incidentally, I saw a guy in Condesa today pushing a cart full

More Mexico City street sounds: The wandering curtain-fixer

I was at the nail salon in Polanco yesterday when I thought I heard a rooster crowing. Then I realized, wait — that’s not a rooster, that’s a man. He was yelling the same phrase, something unintelligible, over and over. I asked the nail lady who he was, and she said, “Oh, he fixes curtains.”

The desperate sounds of Mexico City traffic

Mexico’s Bicentenario celebration, marking 200 years of independence from Spain, is next week on the evening of Sept. 15. It’s going to be the biggest party of the year. There’ll be concerts, music, and a bunch of people running around in fake mustaches and sombreros. I’ll personally be wearing a tri-colored headband and earrings, which

The neighborhood pan dulce guy

Every morning at 7 a.m., we hear a loud, screechy bicycle horn honking right outside our window. It sounds like this: Originally, I had no idea what this horn meant. Then I checked the Internet and realized it was a neighborhood vendor selling pan dulce. Of course! Every service-provider has his own sound here —

The low-rider pesero

Yesterday some girlfriends and I had coffee in Polanco, and we decided to take a pesero home. I love taking peseros — they’re the rumbly, green-painted mini-buses that go everywhere in the city, usually for around four pesos. Since the routes aren’t mapped anywhere, you usually have to ask the driver, “Oiga! Van por…?” if

A lazy, noisy Sunday around the Centro Histórico

Sometimes I forget that Mexico City is an assault on the senses. Everything is loud — the cars honking, the parking attendants whistling, the branches of homemade brooms scraping the sidewalk, the peseros roaring down the street (they are the only thing that moves with urgency in this country), the vendors yelling about their latest

Success on gas… maybe

Spotted this truck yesterday morning while we were walking to the supermarket. We exchanged our tank for one of theirs (the thought of grilling steaks that very day was too exciting to pass up) and they promised to bring our tank back on Tuesday. Unfortunately, when we got home and tried to connect their tank