Sounds of GT

Now onto the second of the senses (see this post). The sounds I hear during my life in Georgetown, Guyana.

  1. Dogs barking; like, really barking. Always barking, loudly and ferociously. The gang of stray dogs in our neighborhood has no sense of time and seems to especially love to go crazy right when I’m falling asleep or at the good part of a TV show.
  2. Birds; loud ones, usually they’re not too annoying
  3. Weed-wackers; no one has lawn mowers here, so the small yards people have are maintained by weed-wackers. Oh yeah, it also seems the weed-wacking-people have no sense of time either. One morning I woke up at 5:40 to the disruptive hum of a weed-wacker on our street. You can imagine my excitement.
  4. Minibus drivers and conductors calling for riders; “market market!”, “Brickdam Sophia Brickdam Sophia!”; no matter what route I happen to be near, someone is always trying to make a buck (well, $60GD) by adding a rider to their bus.
  5. Cars driving; see next sound…
  6. Horns honking; here we go. The horns are always honking. And here is a list of potential reasoning drivers have for honking their horns:
    1. I’m driving a car on the street, just so everyone around knows.
    2. I’m driving a car on the street and I see you’re walking nowhere near me, just making sure you know I’m nearby.
    3. I’m coming up on an intersection that I’m going to just drive straight through, try not to be in my way.
    4. I’m driving really, really fast and I’m just adding the horn to give myself a greater sense of dominance on the road.
    5. I’m about to drive dangerously close to you and the chances of us not colliding are slim, but maybe this horn-action will get you to change your path, because I’m not going to. I’m right and always right, so you should move the vehicle you’re driving.
    6. I’m about to turn a corner and I see that you’re far away from the intersection, but if you started running now and I took a ten second break, we MIGHT be at the intersection at the same time. JUST SO YOU KNOW.
    7. I see there are ten other cars ahead of me and that they’re all stopped because the traffic light is red, which means do not go, but I still want to go. So think honk is to let all of the ten cars ahead of me know that they need to start driving.
    8. I see that the red light just turned green half a millisecond ago, but I don’t know why I, ten cars back, have not yet gotten to advance through the light. Does anyone else know? I didn’t think so.
    9. I see you’re a pedestrian walking on the opposite side of the road, going the opposite direction than the one I’m driving in. Hi.
    10. I see you’re a female. Hi.
    11. I see you have white skin. Hi.
    12. I see you’re walking, and I’m not a taxi service but I would be willing to drive you somewhere of either your choice or my choice, and you could pay me like I am a taxi driver. Do you want that? Just checking.
    13. Okay I actually am a legitimate taxi driver and one time I drove you and your friends and you were nice. Remember me? You should remember me. Do you?

7. Lots of “cat calls” and chit chat from men as you walk by them. For       example: “white girl!” is popular; “Hello baby/babes/beautiful/gorgeous/friend/wifey/etc.” is pretty typical. Men here like to make it known that they’re interested in you while you’re near them. So we get a lot of that. Also, they like to tell you that they love you. Most of the time they get ignored, but for the ones who are funny about it or really clever, they get acknowledged and a laugh.

8. Loud, loud, loud music from cars driving by. All kinds of music: rap and hip-hop, Rihanna, Celine Dion (lots of her, actually), reggae and soca, even gospel. Some cars play their music so loud that when they pass by parked cars, THOSE car alarms go off. So then we get to hear the loud music, and the car alarm. Lots of loud noises.

9. Probably the most pleasant of the sounds are the “good morning, day, afternoon, evening and nights” that everyone says. Walking by someone on the street, walking into a store, getting into a cab or minibus. Everyone offers the friendly greetings to others and somehow it creates a sense of community among the city. Its friendly and I really like it. (It did throw me off for a while though; “good night” is a greeting, just like “good morning” is. While I’m used to using “good night” as an ending remark, here its just a way to say “hi” when the sun is down.)


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