December 2004

Hear El! Hear El!

What is coming from that garbled loudspeaker on top of that car? Is that the carnival coming to Todos Santos or an announcement of some impending doom? Is it something I should know about? Could be. Meet Joel Cadena. He’s Megaphonia, and is the “driving” dejay behind the wheel. A ’91 Ford Festiva, covered in sponsors’ decals, to be exact.

Joel Cadena

MM: “Do you have a childhood nickname, Joel?”

JC: “Yes, it’s Canta Recio. It means to sing loudly.”

MM: “Hmmm, that was prophetic. What do you like about what you do?”

JC: “I like being the one to deliver the news…especially during a hurricane. I will go all over town to make important announcements to people. I work any day, even weekends, whenever someone pays me to broadcast their message.”

MM: “So, there’s a charge for your service? And anyone can hire you to say whatever they want?”

JC: “Yes, Megaphonia is my business. It costs 250 pesos for two hours (plus IVA) to hire me.”

MM: Are you ever embarrassed by what you’re announcing?”

JC: “Yes, and I know I can be annoying, but I’m very proud of what I do. Sometimes I don’t always agree with the message I’m giving, but I like to help people.”

MM: “What’s the weirdest thing you were ever paid to announce?”

JC: “A lady in Pescadero had me go all over town to announce her wedding.”

MM: “Has anything really funny happened to you?”

JC: “Once an American mooned me! Oh and sometimes I give the wrong dates for events.”

MM: “I have to admit, I can’t understand a word that comes out of that speaker, anyway, so it probably doesn’t matter. Do you ever make important public service announcements in English?”

JC: “I record everything myself and then put it on a disc to play in the car. I would need to find someone who speaks English to do that, but I am willing to go where most of the Americans live if there’s something they need to know. It all depends on the message. The saddest thing I ever did was go all over town after Maureen Osterich’s murder to help find the killer.”

MM: “That must have been a very difficult time. Do you interact much with the ex-patriot community? How do you feel about all the changes that have taken place here?”

JC: “Yes, I am friendly with a few Americans. I’ve done this job for 7 years. I’m 29 years old. I grew up here and think the changes are good.

MM: “What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?”

JC: “ I am an active volunteer in Grupo Tortuguero Todos Santos A.C. We work hard to save the local sea turtles and collect their eggs. A lot of Americans come to our turtle releases. We need donations! Also, I enjoy politics and I like to paint. I make signs. I sometimes have time to visit the local art galleries. I would be interested in going to art school.”

MM: “Is there anywhere you’ve dreamt about traveling?”

JC: “I would like to go to Italy. I can understand a little Italian.”

MM: “Is there anything you would like all your friends to know?”

JC: “Yes. I love this place because it is peaceful. I feel the locals need to pay more attention to the town and work harder. It seems to me that the visitors and ex-patriots are the only ones caring.”

MM: “Does this job help you get girls?”

JC: “Yes, would you like a ride?”

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All photos by the Milkmaid herself unless noted. Thanks to Erick Ochoa for his help translating. Copyright 2004-2006, all rights reserved. Any and all manners of reproduction including digital are expressly prohibited without written permission.
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