To my left, the temple is a keeper of stories and sounds. At 4am, it gently wakes me with the 30 minute banging of gongs and drums--time to wake up and meditate for the monks! At 4pm, the gongs sound again, , and then again around 5:30, summoning all the novices and monks to pray and chant together. Many evenings, as the sun is setting on the Mekong, I listen to the older monks lead the novices in beautiful ancient-sounding songs, their young and old voices blending together. Often this will coincide with when I'm doing my evening yoga, with the half light and ancient monk songs streaming in through my open windows.
To my right, is a construction project; a new hotel going up. I hear banging, cement machines, shouts, and other alarming noises all day, and then this transitions into hoots, bottles clinking, and laughter at night, as all of the men sleep on site in little make-to shacks.
In front of me is the Mekong. In the evening, because it is boat-racing season, I hear the shouts "1...2...3...4...etc" as the slim boats filled with determined rowers skim past on the Mekong.
In back of me, lives a family. Right now I can hear all the sounds of cooking; a fire crackling, pots clanging, rice being sifted, beer lao being poured, a mother yelling for her children to help, their two watchdogs barking at everyone that passes...
In the background, the thrum of grasshoppers, the occasional "GEcko" call, the insistent mew of the temple cat stalking outside my house, distant and not so distant motorcycles rumbling to a start and stop, the jangle of Lao pop music perhaps being sang karaoke-style at a party in the village...
Later, when I'm asleep, a whole new hosts of sounds present themselves. Mysterious gigantic animals start break-dancing in my waste bin and ceiling, insects whisper over my head; the night is taken over.
I call this really special situation my Night Petting Zoo. I have so many uninvited animals hanging out in my house at night, that I think I should start charging people money to come pet them and likely get rabies as a party gift. There's a komodo dragon who lives next to my dishes in the kitchen, and several rats who I share my soap with.
But, the sounds here. So alive, so full of stories.