A while back I wrote a post about renting vs buying. On the subject of deciding where to live, here is another important consideration. Panamanians like to celebrate a lot! But, how close will you be to these celebrations, and how much loud music do you want to tolerate until all hours of the night? There are advantages to not being in the center of town.
I LOVE Panama, and, in general, I love the Panamanian people. BUT sometimes it’s REALLY hard to do. In fact, sometimes it’s IMPOSSIBLE.
Take this past week, for instance. This was the 249th anniversary of the founding of the little town of Boquerón, and they were making a huge deal out of it.
The festivities started off on Wednesday. Around noon the first of the parade started by my house. Several of my neighbors from the old house came by with stools to sit on my porch and watch. It was the best parade they’ve had here in Boquerón in the five plus years I’ve lived here. This time there were a lot of floats and this time a lot of thought, care and originality was evidenced in them.
The first actual band that came by and even stopped in front of my house was from Colegio Daniel Octavio Crespo…
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What a funny, CRAZY story! People relocating there definitely need to read it.
It’s definitely something to consider
While I am completely turned off by the crass and vulgar language in the rant, the situation of loud boomboxes is a real possibility anywhere in Panama. Neighborhood cantinas are another common problem even if it appears they are out of earshot of your residence. Noise pollution in Panama City was a problem with open exhausts pipes on the Diablo Rojos buses that also had boomboxes blasting onboard. Panama City finally cured most of those problems at least in the tourist areas where complaints meant lost revenue.
Boquete once was a quiet place except for band practice as Independence Day parades neared. The roosters and dogs started up at dawn but after sunrise, the sounds of the jungle creatures was the only music audible. Farming towns are sunrise to sunset cycles and after a long day in the fields or on the fincas, late night activities last only until 9 or 10PM.
David was more big city but the party areas were removed from the residential areas and noise pollution wasn’t a problem other than the occasional quinceañera. Those don’t get rolling until midnight and if they don’t last past sunrise then the party is deemed a failure. Usually, all the neighbors are invited so everyone misses sleep on purpose.
As I posted in the Rent vs Buy discussion: “Renting also offers the ability to pull up stakes when the new neighbor with the 24/7 boom box moves in across the street. Noise ordinances are extremely hard to enforce there.” Just another part of the “adventure” of being an expat.
Yes, we live just north of a very affluent residential area so noise hasn’t been a problem. We can hear music sometimes but never loud enough to be a bother. I’m not sure what goes on downtown though, and I imagine holiday times can involve a lot of noisy festivities. My blogger friend, however, lives down the road in a fairly small town of working class people, so I would think many of them need some sleep so they can get up in the morning and get to work. But, that’s my US thinking. If I was from here I would probably be much more used to it and more tolerant.
Nena hates it. And there are laws against it. However, very few people have faith that the cops or officials will do anything about it. And most of the homes I have visited there will have the TV blaring and then try talking over the racket? They seem oblivious to the noise. They will be shouting over the TV just to have a conversation. I usually ask if it is OK to lower the TV volume and they always say to just turn it off.
I believe that some of the “tolerance” comes from the construction methods which leaves the houses with zero soundproofing. Metal roofing and jalousie windows does not keep out any noise so the locals grow up surrounded with the din. Expats are often surprised with how much noise invades their house compared to where they once lived. One gets used to most of it eventually but the boomboxes and monster auto sound systems are something else.
Oh I don’t know – sometimes vulgar and crass language has its place – it helps to both succinctly illustrate one’s extreme ire over a particular situation, and it can help “let off steam”. The writer of this post writes rather well, I’ve found: all his other posts that I’ve had the pleasure of reading are tremendously entertaining and informative. In this rant he’d obviously had his capacity to tolerate the racket stretched beyond its limit.
On another of Old Salt’s posts, he wrote about the local “security systems” in the village: mean vicious dogs on short chains tied near every front door – that bark at everything within eyesight (and earshot).
He also wrote of one instance when he resorted to cranking up the volume of his collection of Bob Marley (and another musician I can’t remember) and aiming his speakers at the offending neighbors whose exceedingly loud speakers were shattering the night with noisesome ‘music’ – and getting his point across: the neighbors turned down the volume of their speakers.
And we used to get irritated by the tone deaf music blaring through those old cone speakers at temple festivals in India – all day and all night, for several days in a row. The noise carried for miles.