Monday, August 20, 2007

The Sounds of Venice

Living on an island is not as quiet and serene as one would think. I am surrounded by the sounds of the day and night, most of which dont often occur on the mainland. First, standing in the middle of St. Marks Square reminds me of the Bible story when God dispersed the nations by giving them different languages to speak. It truly is a Babel out there with people coming from so many countries.

But later in the evening when I am at home and settling in, I hear other common sounds. My apartment is close to a gondola 'route', so I hear the familiar "Oy" to signify that the gondolier is coming around a corner and announcing it to others who might be traveling on that canal.

Until 1030pm I hear the chatter of people at the local Osteria, drinking spritz's and beers and eating cichetti (appetizers). After 1030pm, the Osteria is closed and not a night goes by when I dont hear "this is a dead end" or "I thought you said this was the right way" or just laughter at coming across another wrong turn trying to get back to their hotel.

Unfortunately, later in the evening and early morning hours, I am roused by the regular arguing of the Asian couple across the calle ( you know, the ones who hang chickens in their windows--see previous post). How two people can argue so much and still live together is beyond me. And obviously, they think that with their window open no one can hear them!

Around 5am, I can hear the seagulls coming back from their sleep (whereever it is they sleep). The long cackling noise they make reminds me of a rooster call as a wakeup.

By 6am, the street sweeper is up and working hard...the gentle but persistent 'swoosh' of the broom reminds me how clean Venice truly is.

By 730am, the workers who make deliveries are starting with the sounds of water boat delivery vehicles making their way through the canals (sloshing water, horns, verbal communications).

By 830am, the Venetian workers are starting to mill about on their way to work..they stop at the local coffee shop for their 'cafe normale' (i.e. espresso) and 'brioche' (i.e. croissant) or at the local newstand to pick up their favorite copy of today's newspaper.

At 930am, the stores begin to open again and the sounds of Babel have returned.

The first few weeks I was here, I heard all of these noises consistently and nightly. As with any place, I have learned to sleep through most of it in the evening (except, curse those Asians arguing!). And now, those daily sounds actually provide comfort knowing that all is well in Venice and they daily cycle continues.

No comments: