My wife and I are new to Mexico and just moved to our new house in Bucerias, east of the main highway. We love our house with its vaulted ceilings and beautiful gardens. The only problem we have is with our Mexican neighbors. The neighbor to our north plays that “oompah” music until late at night, and there’re always a lot of people coming and going with loud, smelly cars. The neighbors to our south have dogs barking incessantly through the night and roosters crowing throughout the day. (I thought roosters only crow at daybreak.) I’ve gone to both neighbors to tell them in my very basic Spanish that we’re bothered by their noise, but their responses are almost the same. They smile and nod, but the noise just goes on. This is driving us crazy! What do we do now?
Angry and Helpless
Dear Angry and Helpless,
As the saying goes, “Roosters perform their crows at daybreak but they rehearse throughout the day.” Welcome to Mexico, land of a thousand sounds. Part of your difficulty lies with the external noise of your neighbors, and part lies with your internal monologue with how things should be.
Let’s look at the external part first. Your neighbors have coexisted jut fine with cars, music, dogs and roosters until you moved in. Suddenly you’re telling them that it’s a problem! This is their country and the street they’ve probably lived on for years before you arrived. You now know that “telling” them that they are your problem doesn’t work. Calling the police who, by the way, live in a similar barrio, may produce some immediate relief, but will only further the antagonism between you and your neighbors.
Now let’s look at your internal monologue, by which I mean the story line you maintain about how their noise is disturbing you. Like most of us “extranjeros” who migrated to Mexico, you may have imagined soft guitar music mingled with the sound of gentle breezes and lapping waves, only to discover that the Mexico of the Bahia de Banderas is a loud, noisy place. Initial attempts to block the noise out or to control others to keep their noise from bothering you will always fail if you don’t come to terms with the difference between your expectations and reality. When you relax with the situation as it really is, it is possible for the disturbing noise to simply become the sounds of Mexico.
My suggestion here is that you give yourselves some more time to just settle and adjust to your new surroundings. This may include approaching your neighbors differently, perhaps a little less bothered and more friendly. It will take time for appreciation of differences to develop on both of your parts, but if you change your own attitude toward your neighbors, their attitude will change toward you. They may then listen and respond to your needs. Who knows? You might even enjoy a night of food, music and making lots of noise together.