one-minute vacation
Vietnam Bay Area Fiji Burma Laos Cambodia Nepal

laos ( 2000 )

Field recordings made in Laos.

Source sound for Rockets of the Mekong.

Approximately 7 hours available.
bamboo bridge 1.4 MB Steady steps across a bamboo toll bridge (tourists, 2000 kip) over the Nam Song (river) in Vang Vieng.
bamboo drag 730 KB Freshly cut bamboo dragging behind a twelve-year-old's bicycle outside Nong Khiaw, in the northern hills.
bathing buffalo 1.4 MB Bell-laden water buffalo enjoy a late afternoon bath in Muong Houn.
bus full of life 1.5 MB Lively debate (with a mouth full of orange) in a passenger van, in lovely, dusty Udomxai bus station. Here we met a 14 year old Laos girl who was attaching herself in series to a string of western tourists, some naive, some lecherous.
bus stop cock 1.4 MB Rooster sounding its horn at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere, on the 'road' north of Pak Beng.
cargo boat drone 1 MB The hypnotic hum and rush of the cargo boat we caught down the treacherous Mekong. We were the only passangers. Eddies, whirlpools, exposed rocks -- our pilot constantly crisscrossed the river.
chinese memorial band 1.3 MB Enthusiastic noisemakers for what appeared to be Taoist ancestor veneration ceremony at a riverfront festival, Ventiane.
chinese opera 1 MB Chinese opera in Ventiane: splendid costumes, lovely makeup, cute actors, but a terrible sound system,
cotton spinning 1 MB Woman spinning cotton (or hemp?) on her porch, very poor village outside Nong Khiaw.
cotton whisking 1 MB Farther down the road, another woman beat and whisked cotton to prepare it for spinning.
dusk walk home 1.4 MB Evening walk with fellow travelers through the gloaming. A magical walk, we were surrounded by tall limesonte cliffs topped with old-growth teak forest.
full moon gambling 1.1 MB Animal-dice gambling at Muang Sing's notorious full moon festival. I won a few thousand kip by putting cash on the right animal; the game worked like roulette.
full moon MC 1.1 MB A popular MC at one of the disturbingly loud stages at the full moon festival. The reverb just kills me.
full moon PAs 1.4 MB The delightful cacaphony in between two or three stages. Volume = civilization, apparently.
guardian of the well 1.2 MB Afierce guardian (an animist totem dog) guards a well on a pilgram's trail outside Muang Sing;- we stopped with everyone else to placate him and accept his purifying water.
hotel noodling 1.4 MB Lazy sun-down noodling echoes through the empty cooridors of our hotel on the edge of town, Vang Vieng.
hotel ominous 570 KB Dubious reverbations and resonance in a recently constructed hotel.
ice cream cart 1.1 MB That eternal question, how to appear casual while chasing a wooden ice cream cart through town... Remember the Mosquito Coast; ice = civilization.
meat market 1.1 MB Meat is chopped and flys are waved off with plastic bags tied to the ends of chopsticks (in a Luang Prabang market).
mekong rockets 2 MB The almost -- almost -- soothing hum of the 'rocket boats' of the Mekong. Very shallow draft; very sharp bow; very big, very loud outboard engine. Helmets recommended, if only occasionally provided. Earplugs recommended, never provided.
Muang Sing Clapton 1 MB I remember the joy of my first amplified guitar noodling. I can only imagine that of this teenager allowed to noodle while setting up the PA at the Muang Sing full moon festival.
PA chant-a-thon 1.4 MB At a hilltop Buddhist festival outside Muang Sing, a pair of monks worked as a tag team alternately harranguing the crowd for donations -- and chanting in bursts when successful.
Pak Tha dock 1.3 MB One of many hundreds of minutes we spent on a half-submerged floating dock in Pak Tha, waiting vainly for a few other tourists to split the cost of a small-draft boat to navigate up the Nam Tha (river).
Pathet Lao cave 540 KB Our guide tosses a rock down a scree slope, at one mouth of Thom Pha Tok, a vast cave where the Pathet Lao sheltered during clandestine American bombing. Unexploded ordinace ('UXO') still litters Laos and kills people and livestock every year.
physical ed 600 KB Children being marched and herded in the courtyard of a school in Luang Prabang.
pigging out 1 MB Pigs get their dinner behind the house, on the confluence of the Nam Tha and Mekong.
plumbing resonance 1 MB I swear, I'm going to do an album based on sounds of plumbing and irrigation pipes. This one, in a hotel in a town in the north.
radio free laos 1.4 MB Recorded directly from a $2 radio I picked up in Chiang Mai, in vain hope that we might use it to learn the results of the US presidential election. This is what I got instead.
ricefield wander 1.1 MB A morning walk through the karst-hill bordered fallow rice fields outside of Vang Vieng.
silvershop serenade 1.2 MB As well as we understood, these kids hanging out in the jewelry store in tiny Muong Houn were playing Thai pop songs. We played some of our silly compositions back.
teeter totter tipsy 1.4 MB Ten kids, one makeshift teeter totter.
telegraph hill 1.4 MB Insistent, consistent insects on the side of a hill in Udomxai.
tuk tuk in Ventiane 1 MB Thrum, grunt, and roar: say, it must be a three-wheeled 'tuk tuk' rickshaw.
voice of laos 1.4 MB No worries if you don't have a doorstep, the news will be broadcast on PA speakers at 6 a.m.
volleymitton 1.4 MB Kids playing an amazing game we saw all over SE Asia: imagine volleyball played with a bamboo badmitton shuttlecock (or whilffle ball) , but no hands are allowed. Hacky sack (sorry, 'footbagging') is but a pale shadow!
wake up call 1.6 MB Early to bed, early to rise -- especially when river traffic picks up at first light, to the disgruntlement of the pigs outside your window.
walking home from school 1 MB the company of several hundred fascinated school children, in bucolic Muong Houn.
Xieng Thong vespers 1.6 MB The jeweled golden sunset at Wat Xieng Thong, the most ornate Buddhist complex in Luang Prabang, surpassed any description. As darkness obscured the soaring, Thai-influenced main temple, a chapel to the side was used for evening chant. I was invited to sit in by friendly monks eager to practice their English.