All The Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise

Watch this video:

Yeah, that’s basically how I feel here in Peru  every single day – WOMP. I’m a person who hates noise and loves silence so if there is one thing I probably won’t miss about my town, its the noise. I mentioned before that on my 24 Hours Bus Ride post that noise and cultural norms around noise are completely different. I never really realized how much Americans valued silence or quiet time before I came to Peru and its definitely something I will never take for granted again. I mean, the fact that we even have noise ordinances and we can call the police if a neighbor is being too loud at the wrong time of day/night, I think would be a mind blowing concept here (and also, culturally, never work).

By general American standards, Peruvians are just loud. It’s something that I have, in the saltiest of  ways, accepted as apart of my life now. I’m sure all of this “noise” I speak of and often complain about to my friends and family back home is pretty ambiguous so I wanted to make what I’m dealing with a little more clear and I decided to track all the obnoxious noise I can hear from my apartment in just one day (and hopefully make light of one of my not so favorite things). Here we go:

5:00 AM – The rooster and the turkeys go all day long but I start to hear them around  five in the morning. I think the roosters get the rep as the most obnoxious wake  up call but, in my opinion, that should really go to the turkey – so loud, so obnoxious. I HATE the turkeys.

6:00 AM – Soy milk is a big thing ’round these parts and an early morning wouldn’t beimg_9155         complete if the soy milk man didn’t ride up and down the streets on his moto taxi with loud speakers blaring, “SOY MILK GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH! VITAMIN A, VITAMIN B, AND VITAMIN D,” repeatedly. And if that  wasn’t loud enough at the end of it he whistles a dumb tune into the speaker after he says his little spiel.

6:30 AM – Just around 30 minutes later, the soy milk man passes again saying the same thing. At this point I’m pretty much awake but still trying to pretend that this can’t be my life.

7:00 AM – Ah, the joys of trash collection in the States – so simple, so quiet and discreet.  Trash collection here happens basically everyday and instead of relying on people knowing it comes every single day, I’m assuming the town leaders got together and said to themselves, “Selves, how do we make garbage collection in this here town as annoying and disruptive as possible?” This resulted in a garbage truck  with a loud speaker and an ambulance siren. The loud speaker has a recording  that says, “NEIGHBORS BRING YOUR GARBAGE. WE COME BY FROM 6AM – 3PM  MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY. BRING YOUR GARBAGE. WE ARE  WATCHING OUT FOR THE HEALTH OF YOUR FAMILY.” Then it cuts to a recording of a kid talking to their parent about how garbage disposal in the correct manner is so important and at the end the kid goes, “WOW, DADDY! A  CLEAN CITY IS REALLY IMPORTANT! *Cue Ambulance Siren*


7:30 AM -I get up out of bed because at this point, there’s no use in acting like this

Chicha de Jora moto taxi with loud speaker


can’t  be life. So I get up to start my morning rituals and from the bathroom window, I can hear those turkeys going full blast.


7:45 AM I go to my kitchen to make my breakfast and I can hear the TV or radio going pretty loudly from the señora downstairs. But I will say that even though its loud, its  no where near the volume my ex-host fam would use. They were out of this world with it.

9:21 AM – 11:00 AM – Around 9ish everyday, this mysterious Peruvian pan flute music comes on. Wherever its coming from is far but its always there in the background as if to remind you that you’ll probably never have a moment of complete silence until you get back to the States.

12:15 PM – Around lunchtime, like the soy milk man, the Chicha de Jora (another delicious Peruvian drink) man comes around on his moto taxi with his loud speaker, “DELICIOUS CHICHA DE JORA!” Then he let’s out an “AAAAAAHHHHHHH,” as if he’s just taken a refreshing swig of water from God’s personal water fountain to let us all know how delicious his chicha is.

The goats that show up across the street every couple days


12:28 PM – 1:59 PM – The neighbor across the street doing house work blasts the same two Jose Jose songs: Lagrimas & Voy a Llenarte Toda. Not bad songs but I certainly don’t want to hear them on repeat for an hour and a half.

2:16 PM – Mysterious pan flute music can be heard again

2:33 PM – Garbage truck passes for the second time with the same annoying loud speakers and siren

3:12 PM – Goats and their herder show up in the empty lot across from my house. The         goats stop to eat the grass in the trash filled lots while making their silly goat noises for about 20 minutes before they go back to wherever they came from.

5:00 PM – I kid you not, a marching band passes by. Trumpets, drums, clarinets. A legit marching  band. I’m in disbelief.

Marching band marching down the street


6:21 PM – The guy selling picarones (a popular Peruvian sweet) comes by with his moto taxi and loud speaker screaming, “FOR ONE SOL, DELICIOUS PICARONES. ONE PORTION FOR ONE SOL.”

7:30 PM – The tamale woman comes around not with a moto taxi or loud speakers, but by foot, simply screaming at the top of her lungs, “TA – MA – LES” over and over  and over and over again.

8:10 PM – Street dogs fighting in the street

8:11 PM – Some event has started in the plaza and I can hear every word the MC is saying

11:11 PM – It’s a 11:11, make a wish! My wish is that the event in the plaza ends but it doesn’t come true. I sign off on another day in Peru and go to sleep with my ear plugs of  course.

11:25 PM – Just as I’m falling asleep, and just as unbelievable as the marching band, I hear  a round of fireworks. And there is no super special occasion or holiday that I’m  aware of, its just another noise day in Peru.

Late night fireworks



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Yes! I relate to this completely… for me, today’s morning wake up call was an MC talking about the value of tourism in Ancón followed by children singing (or screaming) into the microphone. I try to block out the noise and accept the cultural differences of loudness, but some days are harder than others. Today was a particularly challenging day for me and I appreciate you sharing your own noise adventures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bdwhite says:

      I’m glad you can relate! A lot of my friends are in smaller towns and don’t have the noise problems really. I agree, some days I’m good a dealing with it and accepting it but other days when I really let my self think about it and I realize how I will never have a moment of complete silence here (the dogs, the moto taxi, the music coming from everywhere) its frustrating and makes me upset. And in the States I lived in cities all my life and I never experienced the constant noise like I do here. Thanks for sharing as well! 🙂


  2. Michael says:

    Hola! I’m Michael. I’m a prospective PCV. (I’ve had an interview and now I’m just waiting. Malawi.)

    I’ve lived in Peru, primarily, for the past 6 years–Arequipa (to the south), Zorritos (a beach town near Ecuador), and Cajamarca (northern highlands).

    I have a theory, developed over the years. WHY, I ask myself, would anyone voluntarily keep roosters?!? You DO NOT need roosters for eggs, and I’ve always assumed that folks in Peru keep chickens in general for the eggs (i.e., food). Sooooo, why go through all that crowing-at-the-break-of-dawn nonsense. I don’t think there’s a soul alive who enjoys roosters crowing at sunrise–or, as you’ve learned, 3:30, 4:00, 4:30 a.m.

    So I think–quite possibly–that all these nice folks in Peru mistakenly believe that you need a rooster for eggs. In the everyday world, that’s a reasonable conclusion. But I’ve learned, via a friend who served in Magdalena (near Cajamarca, Peru) that there are any number of very mistaken notions flying about. (No pun intended.) For instance, that plants give off oxygen by day, but at night they give off a poisonous gas.

    So I’m just wondering if keeping roosters is one of those mistaken notions. (For those of you who haven’t lived in Peru, the number of roosters–even in a major city–is unbelievable: (my YouTube video from Cajamarca)).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bdwhite says:

      Hi I know right?! I have no idea why people have them! I have visited both Arequipa and Zorritos!! Both lovely places! I have a really close PCV friend living near Chota, Cajamarca and there is currently a volunteer from my training group who is serving in Magdalena as well – what a small world!


  3. Has this gotten any better for you? Have you adjusted to noises at all? I’m a newer PCV struggling to cope with the noise in my country of service and I’d love any advice you can offer.


    1. bdwhite says:

      Hey! I would love to be able to say its gotten better but, unfortunately, I can’t… Its still very much apart of my every day struggle and something Ive had to begrudgingly accept


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