By 1980, my first stay in Guadalajara (MX), I had seen big cities, but I grew up in Guilford County (NC), which at the time, didn’t feel big. The Guadalajara metro area was millions. A big change for me.
In the county, I was used to waking up to no noise at all. In Guadalajara, there was a roar that started about dawn and grew. I began to like it and still think of the good feeling.
The climate is mild, so the windows in most people’s houses were open, including the one in which I stayed. This let the morning sounds pass easily. Before waking up each day, I could tell I was not at home, and I liked this. Even the crisp morning air smelled different. Guadalajara is known as the city of the eternal spring.
I can still recall the daily morning sounds of the city with clarity:
— the distinctive ring of the standard TelMex desk phone echoing from all over.
— most people had the same two-tone doorbell, also distinctive.
— the high-pitched chirp of the air brakes on the city buses.
— milk delivery person blew a multi-tone whistle when approaching.
— garbage collectors rang a cow bell.
— the general din of chatter that wasn’t in English.
— people yelling to their children a long sing-songy “¡A comer!” (time to eat).
I liked it all. It felt good. Very very good. Forty years later, I can still hear it all.