Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Dawn Patrol

Here's a couple of minutes of footage shot by our audio/visual division from the doorway of Burro Hall at a quarter to six this morning. It neatly encapsulates nearly everything that drives us mad about Mexico: religious fanatics, idolatry, fireworks, megaphones, car alarms, imperviousness to noise, and a complete and utter lack of even the tiniest bit of consideration for other people. (For best effect, connect your computer's speakers to Pete Townshend's concert rig.)



Note the interplay between the fireworks powerful enough to set off a car alarm, and the collection of shitbox cars with alarms so sensitive that they can be triggered by fireworks. Seriously, our testicles are not this sensitive! We understand this is Mexico and there are banditos lurking everywhere - but really, amigos, no one in the history of the world has ever bothered to steal a Nissan Tsuru. You do not need to wire that thing up like it's the Federal Reserve.

Sometimes, noise is inadvertent and unavoidable - we're thinking specifically here of the street-sweeper lady who rolls her squeaky, clanging trash can past our windows every morning at 6:25, on her way to begin 12 hours of tedious, difficult work - and we're cool with that. But parading through the streets with loudspeakers and explosives at 5:45 has only one purpose: to deliberately wake up everyone in the neighborhood and let them know what a fucking asshole you are.

The assholes would insist differently, of course. This, we're told, is a critical part of the annual pilgrimage to San Juan de los Lagos, where every year thousands of like-minded noisemakers trudge hundreds of kilometers because 387 years ago some kid got sick, then got better. Sure, whatever. But let's review for a minute the definition of "pilgrimage":

Pil·grim·age (pĭl'grə-mĭj)
n.
  1. A journey to a sacred place or shrine.
  2. A long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance.
intr.v., -aged, -ag·ing, -ag·es.
To go on a pilgrimage.

"A journey"..."A long journey"..."To go"... And yet this is the third morning in a row these people have buffeted our street with rockets and Jesus-songs. Why won't they go? San Juan is over 250 km away - don't they think they should get moving? Are they lost? Confused? Will they wander the Centro for 40 years, like Moses and the Israelites? Do they think they're making progress, when in fact they've been marching is circles for half a week? Should we print out some directions for them? Offer them a ride? Just stop whining and roll with it?

Yes, we know the last one is the correct answer. But, shit, 5AM? C'mon.

20 comments:

Dave said...

Hilarious post, though I suspect you're not exactly laughing. It has to be maddening. After mentioning the car alarms the "sirens" make more sense. My limited Spanish can only bring "pinche" to mind, though if you use it in an every-other-word fashion, you can rachet up the impact.

Lorena said...

Of course I understand this is annoying for you, but let´s be honest, you are here, no one is forcing you to stay... Not that I like to be bothered at 5am, but there are plenty of places you could be in order to sleep as long as you want...

Anonymous said...

Lorena: Following that logic, should you not really be allowed to complain about anything, or let alone try to change anything at all, because "no one is forcing you to say" and you can always leave?

You are being more than a bit ridiculous here in my eyes, and reflexively nationalist - we really need to get away from that old attitude if we ever want to improve as a country - to face any criticism with "if you don't like it, leave" when some of the criticism is well deserved - like religious pornography with fireworks in a nominally secular state at 5:45 in the morning.

Dave said...

Anonymous #1: If you haven't been north of the border lately, you're missing your share of the ignorant and arrogant masses.

Burro Hall said...

Ironically, Lorena's the second person this week to suggest I go back to my own country. But see, in this case, I've lived on this street for four years. These Barbie-doll-worshiping dingbats don't. They all come in from the countryside, at least, and probably from other states, and they camp in a little tent city in front of the church, and repay the residents' hospitality by blasting them out of bed at 5AM with their holy horseshit.

Of course no one's forcing us to stay, Lorena. But most people's reaction to be woken up early is not to pack the car and move back to peaceful, quiet Brooklyn. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

Lorena said...

Dave: You are so right.

Anonymous: I understand what you say, but I have seen this old attitude applied to many people (mexicans, italians, russians, etc.) in the US, so that´s what I was talking about. Didn´t mean to be that rude.

Lorena said...

Burro Hall: I just told anonymous my point and guess you read it. And to you I wanted to tell that I´m certain that you like living in México, it´s just that you can´t tell that by reading this blog. I do find it interesting otherwise I wouldn´t read it, but I find it a little pesimistic. And of course I´m aware of most of the things that are happening in my country, but sometimes it´s not everything true and there are also lots of good things down here.

Burro Hall said...

Oh, I like to think you can tell I like this place by reading this blog. (Indeed, a small but obnoxiously vocal percentage of our readers think we're unabashed propagandists for the Mexico Tourist Board.) Honestly, if the worst thing you can say about a country is that some religious nuts make a lot of noise before sunrise, how much can you really hate it? (Note: that's not the worst thing I could say about Mexico, of course.) Even the most nationalistic Mexican would have to admit that life here is full of absurdities - as is the US. We try to point them out as inoffensively as possible.

Let's not confuse the Mexican People with certain people in Mexico, though. The people setting off fireworks in front of my house at 5AM - I hate them unreservedly.

jennifer rose said...

As a Mexican, I think you should be given an award for this blog post! It one of your funniest.

Burro Hall said...

Thanks! I've often wondered what the highest civilian honor Mexico awards to foreigners is, and what I'd have to do to earn it. I'm guessing that hurling abuse at devout Catholics is not the surest winner, but I invite you to bring it to Los Pinos attention.

Ziggy Bombanuts said...

"And yet this is the third morning in a row these people have buffeted our street with rockets and Jesus-songs. Why won't they go?"

If I remember correctly, the louder than D-day barrage every morning, is to last for seven days and then they head out to San Juan de los Lagos.

Buenos suerte.

Burro Hall said...

I drove up to the church a little while ago, hoping to run them all over as they napped in their tents, and all the tents are gone. I think they're Celaya's problem tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

They all went for more cohetes and loudspeakers.

Anonymous said...

I also hate those pilgrimages. There are alternative places to live in downtown, since yo live next to La cruz you have a lot of this "celebrations"

By the way you are free to complain, that Lorena is crazy

jennifer rose said...

Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca. That's Order of the Aztec Eagle to Anglo ears. Heck, you're at least as deserving as Billy and Melinda Gates.

Burro Hall said...

You have a point. This blog may be stupid, but it's way better than Windows Vista.

John Q Olson said...

Burro GET SOME EARPLUGS! I know that I cannot abide Mexico without them. Hey, here's another solution- find yourself a casa so close to pounding surf that you can only hear the waves as they wash the shore. I have found such a place, and the waves have such soothing power, that I cannot even hear the chingada escapes up on the autopista! (Photo of autopista here: http://johnolson.blog.com/2011/01/19/take-a-flight-over-bajas-gold-coast/ ) But then this suggestion also suggests that you pack up and move, but not to Brooklyn... I will record the waves for you today, and send you the audio file. You have amigos!

Art said...

about the nissan tsurus...

http://mx.news.yahoo.com/s/19012011/7/negocios-autos-nissan-mas-robados-2010.html

14093 nissan tsurus were stolen in 2010

Burro Hall said...

Gosh, those alarms sure are effective.

O$ said...

I don't know, it seems strangely reminiscent of sleeping at your old place on W. 57th with the windows open in the heat of the summer. You'd think this would have made you a bit homesick if anything.