Monday, October 1, 2012

Managua Soundscape

To get the full sensory experience of a city like Managua, you really have to visit. A visiting friend who had lived in India for a year told us that the smells of Managua recalled in her strong memories of that country from the minute she stepped out of the air conditioned sanctum of the airport. It's not currently possible to embed the smell of the city or the feel of the humidity on a website (and that's probably a good thing), but the music clip above really is a central part of Managua's soundscape.

The song is "Lleg√≥ el Lechero" (The Milkman Arrives) and it is blasted throughout the city by delivery trucks with giant loudspeakers selling milk, leche agria and other dairy products. You can hear the song everywhere you go in the city, and if you read the comments on the YouTube video, it's mostly from Managua residents laughing about how early it starts up in their barrio. (Supposedly the phrase has another entendre too, which is interesting.) It passes by the church office around 10 in the morning, driving slowly with the volume up to 11 and repeating on a short loop.

In general, truck-mounted (or horse-mounted) loudspeakers are pretty common, and you get everything from evangelical preachers making the rounds to ads for laundry detergent, political propaganda, scrap metal collectors and vegetable salesfolk.

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