Often when we travel, we return with stories of food, climate, people. But one of the things that strikes me when I’m abroad is sound. Each city, each place, seems to have its own sound identity. I love sitting in the evenings looking out over cityscapes and drinking in the melodies of the night. In Stockholm, there is the hum of boats or of water lapping gently against shores, wind blowing through trees. In Bangkok it’s the sound of the tuk-tuks and the tinkle of chimes. In Delhi it’s the distant voices from temples and markets and all night traffic. In New York, it’s the hum of traffic and people, the buzzing of neon lights and the scream of emergency vehicles. Here in Nairobi, where I am today, it’s the sound of traffic interspersed with drum beats and wailing music. Distant voices carrying through the night full of woeful stories.
As I sit and listen, I experience another layer of the city, another layer of the culture. With full respect to food and climate, it’s the sound of the city that rules the night.