Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Noise in Cuenca
Cities, in general, are noisy places.
Some new folks in town were dismayed and upset about the noise levels in Cuenca. All we could say was 'yep'.
The Cuenca area is home to almost a half million people. Yes, you will hear construction, loud music, children playing (sometimes with that obnoxious, loud Barney song, over and over and over), roosters, barking/howling dogs, cats in heat, cows, birdsong, fireworks, churchbells, traffic, car alarms, weedwhackers, sirens, thunder and heavy rain, the roaring rivers and more, around the clock, in some neighborhoods.
Sometimes the loud music will go on all night with a one-time event like a wedding, concert or graduation, or a couple hours for the City-sponsored, outside exercise program. Sometimes it will be loud, live music at a nearby bar or club. Sometimes it will be kids practicing their drums for the next parade. Expect it to be really loud at holiday times with fireworks and music. Some days, there seems to be only one volume in Cuenca and that's LOUD, turn it UP as high as you can! Some days we can hardly think or carry on a conversation.
There doesn't seem to be any noise abatement laws in Cuenca. Ecuador is a developing Country with growing pains...perhaps creating/enforcing noise laws will be a priority some day, but not today.
Some of the apt buildings around town have noise 'rules'. Some of the building administrators do enforce them, some don't. 'Guess it depends on the type and the hour of the noise (and who's making the racket).
Depending on where you're coming from, the noise can be deafening, nerve-whacking and can make you downright crabby.
We also suffered the first few weeks here coming from quiet, peaceful rural Oregon. Now, we compare our life in Cuenca more to San Francisco where we grew up, for noise, activity and services.
If you're coming from country-quiet, you may be affected more than the folks already used to the noise of a big City. We often smile as we remember new folks complaining about the cable car bells, construction and fog horns in San Francisco when we lived there, too.
You will hear all the construction around Cuenca. Workers have tight deadlines and many projects work all shifts. The good news is that lots of workers are employed and they are getting the work done. The bad news is that it can be noisy, at all hours! At least, until it's all done (maybe...).
Everyone has their own tolerance levels for noise.
Several folks we know who have moved here, have actually moved several times as they try out different neighborhoods. Sometimes it's the noise levels or the air pollution, sometimes it's something else. They eventually find a better place in town, sometimes at the Coast, sometimes way out in no-darn-where. Funny, some of these new country mice still complain about the loud parties, roosters and churchbells. But, sometimes they find they can hear the wind blowing through the trees and the birds chirping! Yes!
We love our (noisy) Cuenca! It's a vibrant, happenin' place.
But, if you think noise will be a problem for you, you may want to add earplugs to your packing list. (you can also buy them here).
You can't change Cuenca, and who would want to?
The City will begin the new light rail system construction later this year, which will help keep the air cleaner when it's all done. Today, buses spew yucky black diesel fumes. The rains and the prevailing winds tend to clear the air now, but it's not perfect.
We're hearing the goals of the light rail project include replacing the polluting buses in some areas and limiting some of the car traffic....all good. 'Soon'.
More progress shots at the massive underpass project...almost done!