May 20, 2012

Top 5 Noisiest Nights in Quito... So Far!

You already know from our previous posts about Quito that it's not exactly the quietest place in the world. It's not super noisy all the time, but when it is, it's annoying. Last night was one of those annoying nights (#3 on the list).

And I want to explain something before people reply letting me know that I should have called the police. It's pretty well-known that the police here are ineffectual. It's highly unlikely you'd reach anyone if you called or that they would bother enough to check anything as small as noise disturbances. Calling the police seems like one of those things that people in developed nations take for granted. At least that's how I see it after being here for 9 months.

1. House alarm

One pleasant evening, someone's house alarm kept going off, every 10-20 minutes or so. We thought maybe they were just out and would be back to take care of it by a decent hour. Yeah, that didn't happen and it continued that way through the night.

The next morning, Greg investigated the source and found it to be the marketing agency a block from our place. He knew it was them by the multiple notes that were left on its door. The alarm literally sounded like it was right next door.

2. Sound check 

I can't remember now which concert it was, but the day before a big one, some musical genius decided to run a sound check from 11 pm until 3 or 4 am in the morning. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea to someone at the time. That made for another very sleepless night for us and most everyone in the neighborhood.

3. Fireworks and then a helicopter 

Last night (or should I say early this morning) we were awoken to fireworks being shot off somewhere nearby at 5:30 in the morning. Since the clock is on Greg's side of the bed, I guessed the time to be about 3 am, which made sense in a weird way because I thought it was probably someone who came home from a wild night and decided to continue it with fireworks. When Greg told me that it was 5:30 am, I was livid from the nonsensical nature of it all. I'm pretty sure he or she racked up quite a bit of bad karma from last night's fun.

To make a sleepless night worse, there was no sleeping in because of a helicopter circling our part of town for no apparent reason at 8 am. They don't have TV helicopters here (as far as I know) so we think it was a military helicopter. Since it was only one of them, I knew Colombia hadn't attacked Ecuador or anything like that. Don't worry - that's just the running joke in our home for some un-remembered reason. I think we're pretty safe from Colombia.

4. Weed whacker 

The genius behind the weed whacker at 6:30 in the morning was our neighbors' guard/maintenance guy. He was in such a rush to weed whack early in the morning and wake everyone up within a 1 block radius. Why? I have NO clue because the rest of the day he just stands at the gate, trying to look official and staring at everyone as they pass by. I know this because I take my breaks from work and designing to look down and see if he's doing anything useful. 

Besides weed whacking at obscene hours of the morning, he also likes wielding a blowtorch at anything metal (not using any sort of safety equipment besides a cardboard "mask" - I cannot make this sort of stuff up). Sometimes he stops the gas tank guy to get propane tanks for the tenants in his building. And that's about it.

5. Everyday noises

Lastly, there are the everyday noises in our neighborhood (and in all neighborhoods in Quito). The dogs barking whenever they feel like it; the planes landing or pulling up because of the fog; the car alarms going off; the cars honking randomly. It's really excellent, I can't even begin to explain.

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