mercredi 24 janvier 2007

Trainspotting, plainspotting

A desert should be quiet - right? My first night in Tucson was noisy at times. It wasn’t a roommate’s stereo or a male crow with too much testosterone. Both sounds were familiar, but only one was readily identifiable. This last sound is North America: a train’s insistent fog horn. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live next to the level crossings as I am a few kilometres away! Maybe that’s why there are so many hearing aid stores here...

Not that many passenger trains run through Tucson: only four a week between Dallas and LA. So why the racket? Traded goods, my friends. So that you can buy the thingamajig that’s-so-cool-‘cuz-I-saw-it-on-TV or that unripe-but-we’ll-put-it-in-the-fridge-anyway January tomato, I get to hear many trains at night.

From the tooting to the growling. The other sound I heard was less specific. My guess was jet engines... but why so many, and so loud? Maps provide many answers and they provided one here. In five words: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Hugging Tucson city limits is one of the largest AFBs in the United States. This one is best known for the planes that don’t fly (!): over 5,000 mothballed planes enjoy the Arizona sun. But those are quiet...

The noisy ones are of three kinds: fatsos (aka Hercules C-130s), little rascals (A-10 “Tank Killers”) and alpha males (F-16s). Unsurprisingly, the alpha males are noisiest. Hardly a day has gone by without a free airshow in the campus sky. The planes fly low, but sometimes you still only hear them... when you can no longer see them!

Planes, trains... and automobiles. Tucson is car country, antique nation and macho pickup galore! Fortunately, these beasts don’t disturb my sleep. There is a lot of traffic, but few traffic jams. Modern cities with no natural obstacles and an appetite for ashphalt do have some advantages, I guess.

Les avions sont des jouets intéressants mais n'ont aucune utilité militaire.
- Ferdinand Foch

6 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit...

Hey chandos..

Ok, planes are noisy. Specialy in the night. But what could be great is to take off with those aircrafts taking off next to your plane.
Amazing. And it happens sometimes ;)


Sayweke a dit...

Hello my friend

It's nice to know about you...and crazy to see where you are now. Surprising for a canadian quebecois in the dry dessert of the wild sounds like a alternative contry music theme.
I hope you are OK. And maybe we will meet soon in Montreal next fall. I hope so.


Sayweke a dit...

Hi Julien

I wrote you a message but the internet didn´t put it in the blog....crazy, man.

I would like to see more pictures of you in the wild dessert! So, studying law at Tucson? Great! The macho culture of the south is calling you... tequila, tacos and chili pepper...what nore do you want to make fun!....
Oh, if you want to assimilate the noise, please listen Godspeed You! Black Emperor, my favorite post-rock band of MOntreal.



essstar a dit...

By the sounds of your latest and recent instalments, it maybe be high time to become armed. To the teeth.

And remember, JJ, aim up. ;)


Matt a dit...

You'll get used to the night trains - they run right behind our apartment here, honking their horns through the fog, about 3 per night. It is said that a student pulling an all-nighter can tell time by the train horns. After a few weeks, you don't even notice it.

Caropuce a dit...

Alou Juju,

Je viens de voir pour les commentaires... Il y a un début à tout. A crème ce sont les lignes de tramways qui ont failli me rendre folle... Heureusement le stop en bas de chez moi était transitoire. Maintenant, je marche pour avoir mon trams mais je dors mieux ^^.