Travel to Bangkok – 3

At a sacred park, we brought a huge bag of fish pellets and fed the sacred fish in the pond. They were like catfish, but had wide sucker-mouths. They did a feeding frenzy, and would push away the slow turtles that came to get their share of the pellets. Feeding sacred fish is a very soothing experiences, sonically as well as spiritually.

In Ayutthaya Wat we wandered around the ruins of old temples destroyed by invaders. There were headless buddha statues, brick rubble walls, foundations, and some drooping ancient structures. It felt old the way the Canadian Shield feels old. The soundscape there was quiet and peaceful for the most part: birds singing, people walking quietly taking pictures or listening to a tour guide. One interesting addition was a toy sold by vendors outside the temples to groups of school children. The toy was a stick, a sounding tube, a string tied between them, and some kind of resin under the string. When it was spun in a circle, the string vibrated against the resin and the tube amplified it to sound like insects. (See clip below)

This is a clip from inside the ruins of one of the wats (temples). The voice you hear is the audio guide I am listening to explaining the history of the place.

My most memorable sound in Bangkok – the dropping of small coin tokens into bowls along the back of the massive Reclining Buddha, and reverberating in the huge room, tiled and painted and gilded. Even the sound is golden. We paid 20 Baht for our small bowl of tokens, and if you put one in each large bowl, it means you have good fortune (if I remember correctly).

Near the place we are staying for part of our time in Bangkok, we are close to a school where we heard children practicing traditional Thai music on traditional instruments made of bamboo, a type of angklung where each child holds one note of a scale in each hand, and shakes the bamboo to sound the note at the right time.