Unlike the sweet potato vendor, the mysterious whistling sound is heard in the daytime, usually in the morning. I have always attributed this bit of noise to the music school across the street, but while going about my morning chores today, I heard that faint whistle out my window. Of course, in accordance with my noise-y obsession, this required voyeuristic investigation.
On a bicycle with a sharpening stone attached to the back was the the sacador de filos, the knife sharpener!! Oh, was I elated to have finally found this man! Everyone I know seems to have one in their neighborhood, and I was beginning to feel a little left out. No one told me about his distinctive whistle, but honestly, it was very pleasurable to have discovered him and his noise all on my own. Given that he was on a bike, this fella was quick and almost out of sight once I put two and two together. And no way was I going to gather all my knives in the fist of my hand and run them down like a crazy woman just to get them sharpened. As crooked as the cops are here, I think they know a crazy when they see one. So this time next week I'll carefully bundle them up and hope he comes again.
Listen to this NPR podcast to hear the knife sharpener's whistle and learn more about Mexico's informal economy of street food vendors and tradesman. Hmm..this makes me a little interested in starting my own informal economy of homemade Asian delights.
A knife sharpener in Oaxaca who props his back wheel up while pedaling backwards to turn the sharpening stone.
(Courtesy of http://hdl.handle.net/10090/1736)