My first morning in Coatepec, Veracruz, Mexico, I was woken up at dawn by the terrifying sound of a rusty vehicle traveling up the road. I had never heard a car in such bad shape before. The suspensions were scratching and squeaking, as if the rust wouldn't let them move. I waited for the car to pass, so that I could go back to sleep. Weirdly, the car didn't seem to ever go away. The scratching continued, and kept on going on and on. I started wondering, still half asleep, if every car in the town of Coatepec was in desperate need of repair. Then, I decided that that was not possible, and that it was probably the same car going up and down the same stretch of road.
I do not deny it was an irritating morning, and by the time I got out of bed I was completely fed up with the driver of the obnoxious vehicle. When I retold my experience to Alejandro, I discovered the unthinkable. The rusty car was not a car, at all. It was birds. Birds singing to a new day. This was my first encounter with the chachalacas. A few days after, I saw them perched on a tall palm tree, staring down at me with their pitch black eyes. I would have never thought that such a dreadful singer could look so beautiful and elegant.