To make matters worse, our apartment building has an airshaft up the middle, with windows to three rooms (our kitchen and bathroom included) opening into it. The airshaft is completely brick, giving it the noise-dampening qualities of a megaphone. Every note from each horn (and there were more than one, trust me!) ricocheted its way from the original source, up the airshaft to be delivered directly to the unsoliciting ears of each resident above and below our reveling neighbors.
12:30 am found me in my robe, ringing the offenders’ doorbell. I don’t know how they actually heard it, but a man answered and when I mouthed “WAY TOO LOUD!” to him, his facial expressions said, “Really? Loud? I’m sorry, what can I do? Really – you can hear this? Gosh, my apologies!” So close to the music, we couldn’t actually hear each other speak – so this was all pantomime. But he understood why I was there.
Satisfied, I went back upstairs and waited for the change in volume, which – of course – didn’t come. Our only saving grace was that Mariachi bands are hired by the hour, and so some time after 1:30, they packed up their horns and left the party in their matching costumes, leaving me with nearly four hours to sleep.
Friday night, as Tim and I were settling onto the couch to pick a movie to watch - it started again. The volume was such that it was all I could do to not turn around and look for the band that was certainly IN our living room. Even the cats were freaked out by the racket. This time the band only played until about midnight, after which the party continued with Mariachi on the stereo, naturally.
My coworkers told me that Colombians love Mariachi and it’s a tradition to celebrate a birthday or an engagement by hiring a band. C’mon, don’t hold it against them – it’s a tradition, part of the culture! Should the festivities continue for a third night, Tim and I will be happy to introduce our new friends to some American culture: early Sunday morning breakfast with the Allman Brothers at full strength.