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Estas escuchando??

Estas escuchando?

Are you listening?

We woke up this morning, surprised and confused, to the blast of mariachi music. Booming from the town’s loud speakers,  la iglesia began its mass with music and prayer. Among the spiritual full volume everyday rituals, we find other sounds. If the church had not woken us up, the gentle noise of bustling car horns, talkative cats, or prompt jackhammers  surely would have. Here in San Antonio, there is no need for personal alarm clocks.

As we walk across the narrow stone streets, our ears are filled with more. We hear the buzz of conversation from the local people and street perros alike. We look both ways at the “beep beeps” of tuk tuks and the roar of motor cycle engines. Across the way, los chicos banter and laugh as they play fútbol on the pavement. Las chicas whisper and giggle on the corner. If we listen closely, we catch the nonchalant word “gringos”.

Artisan shops are filled with the sound. We toured a local pottery co-op where artisans sculpt, mold, paint fine pottery. We hear the artisan explain the different processes among the clanking pots and clay mugs.

Today, we hiked to the waterfall. While trudging up the uneven steps and uphill slops, we hear the sound of wind whispering through los cebollas. We walk behind and in between alleyways; the home fires crackle and oaky smoke looms. Through the sound of our pounding hiking boots, the chirping of birds and nature triumphs. We reach the falls, and the silent mist tickles our faces. The churning and trickling water is music to our hears. Although we cannot swim, we have time to reflect.

This past week, we have been learning about the difference between a tourist and a traveler. Now, it seems clear. A tourist merely hears a chaos of sounds, but a travel listens. These sounds hold colorful history, vibrant nature, local secrets, and life itself.

This is Guate. Estas escuchando?