Loja is the music capital of Ecuador. Students study at music conservatories and concerts are held in the many plazas. However, the sounds of Loja have nothing to do with talent. Every time I hear sounds that typify Loja, I exclaim, “Oh, the sounds of Loja.” It could be the truck broadcasting the same short melody each morning and afternoon alerting everyone to the fact he has water and natural gas to sell. Or it could be in the evenings when the garbage truck comes by. Each evening there is once again a new melody transmitted from the garbage truck making sure you know when to put out our garbage can and when to pick it up to ensure it doesn’t get stolen.
The sounds of Loja are dogs barking all through the day and night. They are cars honking, not in frustration, but to warn another driving they are passing or that they have the right-a-way at the intersection.
The sounds of Loja are political parties driving by in decorating trucks with music blasting from loud speakers placed on top of their vehicle.
The sounds of Loja are fireworks going off at anytime of the day. There doesn’t need to be a reason to light them off, though sometimes there is. When we first arrived, beautiful fireworks scattered the sky and loud booms woke us up in the wee morning hours. The Virgin Mary, a small doll, was visiting Loja. The colors in the sky at night were to honor this doll while the booms in the morning intended to wake her up. Don’t they know even dolls and people need some sleep?
“Oh, the sounds of Loja!” ~Johanna