The Sounds of Bandung

Most days and nights, the windows are open here in the apartment in Bandung.  That’s something that hardly ever happens at our house in Pennsylvania because the Commander has allergies.  Therefore, in the summer he wants the air conditioning on and windows closed and in the winter, the heat is on so windows need to stay shut.  It creates a cocoon of silence occasionally broken by the dog’s barking.

Here in Bandung, there are so many sounds that I find it quite overwhelming.  Here is a typical day’s worth of sounds that I’m hearing.  My day today began at 3:41 a.m. as I heard the first strains of the call to prayer sounding in the distance.  As I listened, the call was repeated around the city, getting closer and closer until the loudspeakers which seem to be right beside our house started with the refrain.  I swear it went on for a good half hour. 

By then, the roosters had woken up and started their crowing.  One particular over-achiever didn’t even take a breath between crows.  His cock-a-doodle-doos were continuous.  For two cents, I would have wrung his neck and fried him up for dinner.

The dogs decide to join the chorus and then the first sputtering motorcycle in the neighborhood roars to life and this is all before 4:30 am.  It’s a lost cause.  By 5 a.m., I’m up and dressed.

Throughout the day, voices sound outside our windows.  Apparently, we have several busy walkways bordering the house.  An occasional vendor walks past hawking his wares.  I’m not sure what those are since I don’t understand the language but he repeats the same word over and over. 

Soon a lively game of street soccer begins and the laughter of children fills the air, punctuated by the thud of the ball and the grunts of colliding youngsters.  The game eventually breaks up as they are called in for a meal, which I’ve heard being prepared because I’ve heard pots and pans knocking about and the smells are starting to reach my nose.

The call to prayer repeats throughout the day and into the evening.  For example, it’s 7:18 p.m. and the imans have been chanting for awhile now.

Babies cry off and on, motorcycles putt-putt from the wee hours until late at night since the alleys here are too narrow for a car to get through, and friends and neighbors call out to each other in passing.

Several days now I’ve heard the rumble of thunder in the distance as the rain has moved in, usually in the afternoons.  Last night, I listened to the raindrops fall on the roof all night long.

If I have dark circles under my eyes, it should be no surprise.  I’m experiencing sensory over-stimulation.  Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore! And just in case I forget why I’m doing all this, I have to post a pic of my little sweet pea to remind myself.

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Hot Flashed Funk

  • Can you get earplugs?

    There is such alot to take in, isn’t there? Your post makes me appreciate the fact that Vinj and Kath live in ‘the farms’ area…. most of the racket came from birds and bugs.

    I have never been quite sure where Jason and Laura’s ‘permanent’ residence is located – is this where you are visiting? Or are you at the apartment?


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