In earlier posts we’ve highlighted the different sounds that characterise the various soundscapes that we’ve visited.
In Kampot, the soundscape featured the natural world: critters at night and fishing boats in the mornings and early evenings. The hubbub in Luang Prabang seemed to emphasize the spiritual, with the drumming and chanting from the wats.
In Da Nang the noises we hear project the state’s authority and control alongside the city’s aspirations to become a booming metropolis.
Vietnam and China currently have a territorial dispute over an island that is about 200 miles away. The island is located in what most of us know as the South China Sea but that the Vietnamese call simply the East Sea. On a daily basis we hear and see the air force flexing its muscle as it flies combat planes and helicopters over the city. Parenthetically, India is helping Vietnam build capacity for a modern air force. Russia is supplying the planes and parts.
When we first arrived in Da Nang we noticed loudspeakers on the beach. They were blaring muzak in the afternoon.
Listen to Muzak 2.wav by User 666885694 #np on #SoundCloud
Later in the evenings rock music booms- live bands, karaoke, DJs. And in the mornings at 6am and afternoons at 430pm the government uses the speakers to beam news and information to the public. The public service announcements could broadcast news about helmet laws or narrowcast information about the closure of a local post office.
Whistles are everywhere in Da Nang. Traffic police use them to enforce compliance. Lifeguards use them to make sure swimmers don’t drift outside the designated swim area.
There are doves (and pigeons) that photographers hire as props for the shoots. And the dovekeepers control their beasts with whistles.
The city is growing like gangbusters. New hotels are popping up everywhere. Hammering, sawing, welding, digging, shouting; it’s all part of the racket.
We have written about traffic. Motorists honk at intersections to partially compensate for the absence of traffic signals. Yesterday the girls rode to the French library with Felix (note the helmets) and their squeals of delight could be heard from blocks away.