Sunday, January 19, 2014

If and When You're Coming to Mexico ......Bring Earplugs

It was so long ago that someone gave me the advice to bring earplugs to Mexico that I had forgotten all about it.  However, yesterday while having lunch with a group of women, the topic of dogs barking in the night came up.  I first asked if they had earplugs.  I don't think anyone answered.  Then I asked if they had the phone numbers for the owners of the dogs.  No one did.  I suggested that they get the numbers and call the neighbors at 2AM when the dog is barking.  I have done that.  It works. By the second time of telephoning them while you are awake, they never leave the dog out again.

I also never travel anywhere in Mexico without earplugs.  The sounds one can hear if one does NOT have earplugs can be traffic, parties, fireworks, music, dogs, roosters (they do make their sounds all night), horses, cows, sheep and goats.  The latter happened to me when I stayed near Patzcuaro in the country once and there was a farm next door on the lake.  I had no idea animals such as cows,  horses, etc. made so much noise at night.  In went the earplugs.

On a planned trip to Veracruz City over the Christmas holidays, I was forewarned to be sure to bring earplugs.  Good piece of advice.  We were staying right on the jardin and the partying went on til about 4AM.  I would have been very grumpy, if not for my earplugs.  Many of the people I was traveling with were not so lucky.

Lots of people complain about the church bells that ring at least every hour, if not every fifteen minutes day and night, I think in San Miguel.  Actually, I've been here so long that I don't hear or notice them.  Well, I have to correct that statement.  When sitting on the bench in front of the Parroquia, one cannot even hear, talk or anything else when the bells are ringing.  Earplugs that close would not help.

The fireworks are the same thing.  IF they are going to set them off, it is usually at 6AM.  I might hear the first volley, but then I turn over and go back to sleep.  I'm used to them, finally.

Therefore, when packing for a trip, I never leave home without my earplugs.........or my camera.  Of course, they are readily available here in the house as well. You've been forewarned.  Happy travels.

38 comments:

Steve Cotton said...

Funny. Earplugs are not something I would ever think of here in Mexico. Most things do not bother me here. A guest was once having trouble sleeping because of a neighbor's dog. I went over to the house to ask if they could bring the dog in. The answer was "No. That is the dog's job -- to keep burglars away." I told my guest -- "Live with it." The dog -- and several others -- still bark (just as bad as your neighbor's dog), but it doesn't keep me from sleeping.

Peter Kouwenhoven said...

Great post, excellent advise.
I guess Steve must be deaf, or desensitized.

Croft Randle said...

It is another example of Mexico being a country of contrasts. People seldom or never raise their voices in restaurants or let children make noise but give them a back yard party and they think nothing of cranking the music up to intolerable levels and shooting off fireworks until morning. And the dogs and roosters! It takes me several months every year to get used to them and their nightly choir practice.

I have never mastered earplugs. As soon as I lay on my side, they hurt and wake me up.

Charles said...

Horns honking...dogs barking...donkeys braying...roosters crowing...wonderful music...vivid colors...beautiful people...this is Mexico...teeming with life...I only notice when it's totally quiet...which is not that often!

Babs said...

Steve, I think Croft made such a great point. Mexicans, I have noticed are so respectful and quiet as are their children. IF I hear a child having a fit or crying, I'm pretty certain it is a child from the USA. And 9 times out of 10, it is. It's the extraneous things that get people, usually. The roosters, dogs and fireworks along with the church bells. I remember you saying you sleep very, very soundly.

Babs said...

Peter, I think Steve is an extremely sound sleeper. Glad I could give some advice that I had totally forgotten about.

Babs said...

Croft, I use those small, very squishy ear plugs. I've tried the bigger ones and I can't wear those either.
Thanks for your comment.

Babs said...

Charles, it is very, very quiet up where I live except during the day when the children are in school, which to me, is a wonderful sound.
Therefore, since it is so quiet the rest of the time, loud noises are much more noticeable. I'm blessed to live where I live.

norm said...

We chose our hotel with care, two blocks off the main thoroughfare, a nice quite street...At the stroke of dark, the steel garage doors went up on the dance hall below my bedroom window and the hundred plus decibel fandango started. This went on until a thunderstorm of biblical proportions put the party out. Then the dogs started a conversation about the storm that went on until 3 AM, at three the roosters saw a false dawn and let me know it was time get up and make hay. At dawn I rolled out from under the troupe of little green ants going somewhere that included the mountain pass over my belly, a flat tire on my rental in the parking bay greeted my bleary eyes that morning. My first night in Coban Guatemala was not a peaceful one.

Babs said...

Oh my gosh Norm. I so hope you were able to drink coffee, lots of it.

I had an incident, at least 30 years ago, when I stayed in a motel near the freeway in Guadalajara. As if that wasn't bad enough with all the night traffic of the 18 wheelers, I also was next to a stockyard that I didn't see but knew from the odor was there! True story......funny, now.

redshoesarebetterthanbacon said...

I would rather learn to tune out the noise than deal with the irritation lent by even the cushiest of ear plugs.

The noise just becomes part of the wallpaper, part of the landscape, the cadence of life, just as much as the kind of silence that allows you to hear that vacuum between your ears.

Ron Stephens said...

You forgot the Patzcuaro turkey....

Babs said...

Jennifer, and that is what makes the world such an interesting place...having different views.


Ron, I TOTALLY forgot about the Patzcuaro turkey. THAT could be a blog all by itself! Ha. Made me chuckle to even think about it. FUNNY>

Dean Wylo said...

I have a hearing disability and wear hearing aids, so it's the opposite for me - of course at night I take them out to sleep so never hear a thing.

During the day I marvel at roosters, music, anything at all I hear (and I love to hear roosters crowing!). It is ALL such a gift to me - the gift of sound - and in Mexico it is even more so because Mexico is precious to me.

Rain? Oh to hear rain again! Seemingly little sounds are greatly missed. So perhaps take the energy of sounds ("noise") and reframe it. They are the sounds of life in all its glory.

Barbara

Babs said...

Barbara, I love the sounds of Mexico too, but, not during the night when I'm trying to sleep.

It is a happy place where the noise lets one know that life is full!

gringosuelto said...

Barbara,

This is an EXCELLENT piece of advice. In fact, I never travel ANYWHERE without several stashes of earplugs. I almost always wear them when flying, as they drown out all the stupid announcements (do I really need to know that we're flying at an altitude of six miles?), all the noise of the plane (like being inside a giant vacuum cleaner), and the inevitable screaming children. They're also useful if you want to go clubbing, which I occasionally do. But I don't like to have ringing ears for the rest of the night.

And I've learned the hard way, that no matter how posh the hotel, whether it be in the USA or elsewhere, there's no guarantee that your neighbors will be quiet. Better to put in earplugs and go back to sleep than get yourself all riled up by calling the front desk.

Final tip for other travelers: in Spanish, earplugs are called tapones, or if you need to be more specific, tapones de oídos. They are available at Sanborns and similar stores.

Saludos,

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we've considered writing a post on travel tips, and this one would definitely have been included.

Calypso said...

We are on the same path this morning amiga - You failed to mention the two things I am complaining about today - constant drone of airplanes and those motorized parachute things that buzz our casa (see today's Blog entry for more info ;-)

Agree with Croft that the earplugs are bothersome and a last resort for me.

Dean Wylo said...

In my earlier comment I meant to add that not hearing well has its perks!

Noise while trying to sleep, on airplanes, crying children, etc. I just take my hearing aids out (or flip open the battery compartment) and presto-bingo - everything annoying (next table in restaurants?) is instantly a low hum.

We look for perks where we find them...

Barbara

Babs said...

I buy my squishy earplugs at Walgreen's in the states. Like 10 pair to a container or something like that. Save them for me, or someone who needs them.....
Thanks Kim and Calypso and Barbara for your comments. Kim, I've never thought of wearing them anytime but at night. Never thought of them on an airplane. Great comment, thanks.
Calypso, there was a plane going back and forth this morning. I finally went outside to see if I knew them and were buzzing my house! I found out it was a recon group planning the path for the military parade tomorrow in honor of Allende's birthday - I actually think having airplanes for a parade about Allende's birthday is hysterically funny.

Babs said...

Barbara, my grandmother wore a hearing aid back in the 50's and 60's. When we were around she just turned it off. I thought how wonderful it was that she could do so!

gringosuelto said...

P.S. I also wear earplugs in the DF Metro. That way I'm not tempted to tackle the music vendors, with their 100 amp backpack speakers. LOL...

Kathe K. said...

If you get the soft silicone earplugs they conform exactly to your ears and don't keep you from sleeping. The night noise in Mexico that I really dislike is the base that makes your diaphragm vibrate even if you have earplugs.

Babs said...

Kim, I haven't been in the DF Metro since the 70's when it was still tranquil and an interesting ride from Zona Rosa to the airport. I intensely dislike those jam boxes with the vibrations!

Kathe, I'm with you. Since I live at the dead end of a street overlooking a canyon. At night people come to park right next to the house to look at the "views". Sometimes they have the car radio BLASTING so that the windows rattle. I try to be patient and calm until they leave......VERY disturbing. It doesn't happen very often, thankfully.

living.boondockingmexico said...

I've used earplugs all my adult life. We spent the summer in SMA and rented an apartment. I never noticed much of a difference. We were a block over from the Institute. Very quiet neighborhood.

Babs said...

I so hope the next time you come to SMA, you let me know! I'd love to meet ya'll. I've been reading your blog forever! Plus I still have your phone # that you so kindly provided me for when I was driving to Texas!
Thanks for posting!

Darren Colons said...

Great Post! Not just Mexico, but other parts of the world also need this. Traffic rise and loud music is making people deaf.
Best Motorcycle Ear Plugs

Darren Colons said...

Great post. Thanks for the suggestion. I am always carry my earplugs whenever I go out. It's a good habit, though it protects from noise, dust and air pollution. Be sure you opt for a good quality earplugs.

Babs said...

Thanks Daren for your comment on earplugs.

Laurie Dawes said...

I usually travel with a small white-noise machine. Helps immensely in hotel rooms with partying neighbors. Might help those who can't tolerate earplugs. I brought earplugs to SMA for our first two trips and found I didn't really need them. We must have been in quiet neighborhoods or during fairly quiet weeks. We are moving down to SMA in the Fall so I will be sure to bring a supply of earplugs and my white-noise machine so that I am all prepared! Now, if only I could find a cure for my insomnia! Maybe the sounds of SMA will keep me entertained during my sleepless nights, or maybe they will lull me to sleep...?!

Babs said...

Laurie, with the fresh air and the ability to walk everywhere for good exercise, if San Miguel doesn't cure your insomnia, I'll be surprised.
Welcome to San Miguel. I'm sure you'll love it as I do.
Thanks so much for commenting.

Laurie Dawes said...

Thanks, Babs! We are looking forward to it!

Darren Colons said...
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Babs said...

Thanks Darren for your comment about enjoying the blog.

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