Though I am still trying to catch up on my travel packing blogging, I had to take a break today and write about my new temporary home.
On my first day in Cuenca, I was surprised to hear music coming from the street. It would come and go, so I knew it was coming from some sort of vehicle. It took me a while to spot that the passing music was coming from trucks delivering LP gas cans. Though I hadn’t yet spotted anyone coming out to do business with the truck, I assumed that people with empty canisters bring them out when they hear the music and trade them out for full ones.
With a little searching I found an article in CuencaHighLife, dated August 4, 2017, which explained that the trucks had once beeped their horns to alert their customers. The article notes that many trucks were not yet equipped with the music, other drivers were having a hard time remembering not to honk their horns, even when their trucks were so equipped.
Since I have been here, I can attest that the change has taken place, and every LPG truck I see is playing the music. Though the music is repetitive, I know that it will always be one of my found memories of Cuenca, when I move on.
In general, Cuenca is far quieter than most of the cities I have lived in. The sound of the passing traffic is that of individual vehicles, not the steady roar of traffic, which I am accustomed to. Though I live in an area with restaurants, coffee shops, and bars, there is no late night noise of drunks on their way home, or making deals with professional women of the night.
As I walk around town, I can’t help but notice that people on the street modulate their voices as they speak to each other, or more rarely when on their phones. The other day, I saw a toddler faceplant into the sidewalk. His mother picked him up and they walked on. He never made a noise, nor could I have understood his mother’s quite admonishment, even if my spanish was better.
On the occasions that I do hear things it attracts my attention. I was in the Mercado 9 de Octubre, buying some of the very nice local candy, when I heard music. Heading out into the plaza in front of the market, I saw that a concert stage was set up and a band was performing. Remembering that it was October 9th, Independence of Guayaquil Day, not to be confused with the National Independence Day or Independence of Cuenca Day, I figured this was part of the celebration.
I stood and watched the band perform, enjoying it so much that I forgot to take any photos or video until near the end of the set. Later walking home I realized that I had really enjoyed the performance, though I normally cannot stand being at concerts. I think that it must be because the crowd was so quiet and calm. I plan on going to locate any music I hear around town from now on.
The day after I got to watch the devils cavorting, I was at home reading when I heard music approaching from down the street. This time I was ready, I sat in the window seat with the window open waiting until the parade passed. It turned out to be local dancers, dancing to a police band. They were followed by a parade of firefighters carrying torches. There were more police bands, dancers, and marching firefighters, interspersed with various emergency response vehicles. I couldn’t help but feel my friend and firefighting instructor Don Merkel, would have loved to see the show.
I can’t wait to see what sort of music I find next.