Saigon is not the sound of silence. It is the dull hum of constant traffic; the rise and fall of playing children’s screams; the banter of old women squatting in their market stalls; the clatter and sizzle of clams and snails as they hit their hot oiled pans; the monotone drone of monks chanting into patchy PA systems; the lazy bark of motorbike, pedicab and taxi drivers — “Moto? Taxi? Excuse me sir, where you go?” — the recorded enticements of banh mi and nuoc mia carts; the honking of car and motorbike horns; the low warning of trains traveling across busy thoroughfares; the crackle of mosquitoes caught in the repeated swipes of electrified swatters; the poppy thump of the latest Top 40 track blasting from the corner stereo store; the jingle of passing ice cream carts; the banging, sawing and bolting of countless minor construction projects; and the high distant whine of worn brake pads fetching for purchase on 10 million tiny tires.

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Sounds of Saigon