Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The sounds of Quezon City

Not understanding a language has its advantages. When the content and meaning of conversations are beyond comprehension, other aspects of the soundscape come into focus -  the tone of human voices, the natural sounds, the human-induced sounds, the everyday sounds that meld into the background over time. 

My daily soundscape in Quezon City

Soft beep-beep-beep of a travel alarm clock
Whirring, cooling, mosquito-repelling fan
Soft beep-beep-beep of a travel alarm clock
Soft beep-beep-beep of a travel alarm clock
Soft beep-beep-beep of a travel alarm clock
Cheery "good morning ma'am" en route to UP 

A thousand different ringtones interrupting meetings, conferences, presentations
Speakers blaring sappy love songs and dance music in grocery stores
Christmas carols
Clapping and singing of store staff ... always on cue

Bounce, bounce, bounce of aspiring basketball stars on barangay courts
Children's laughter from behind school gates and on city streets

Whimsical melody of the ice cream pedal-bikes
Slow deep shouts of mobile food vendors
Sizzling oil frying fish balls, quail eggs, bananas, sweet potatoes ...

Tap, tap, tap of the keyboard
"You are listening to a CBC podcast"
[musical interlude]

Constant drone of traffic
Shrill whistle blows from grocery store security men, directing traffic
Tricycle engines coughing, sputtering, revving
Gentle horns of considerate drivers alerting others of their presence
Hammer-on-the-horn-as-hard-as-you-can beeping of jeepney and taxi drivers

Inhale, exhale
Inhale ... upward-facing dog
Exhale ... downward-facing dog
Two breaths, relax 

Lively voices animate Filipino talk radio programmes
Videoke versions of American, Korean and Filipino pop music
Survivor Philippines, Taglish news, celebrity tv banter
Hair ads promising luscious, silky, straight, dandruff-free manes

Bounce, bounce, bounce of the aspiring basketball star next door, practicing his shot for the zillionth time
Pop, bang, pop POP of fireworks in the night sky

Faint pitter-patter, pitter-patter of mouse footfalls
Silent night

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