Scattered throughout Chongqing are various parks of different shapes and sizes. Although they offer visual solace from the busy city, their design often does not offer the audio equivalent. In my mind this creates an interesting juxtaposition of these two colliding worlds. The parks are, for the most, designed to be picturesque and are quite traditional in their set-out, harkening back to older times. However, at the same time as the eyes take in this old-world view the ears are greeted with the urban noise of modern city life, with vehicles and construction being the loudest culprits.

The best time to visit therefore is when the city is quieter, i.e. at dawn and through the night, and both of these times have their own particular soundscape, such as the chirping crickets and croaking frogs which can be clearly heard when darkness falls.

At the break of day, the park is alive with the sound of birds, of which there seem to be few varieties. Then one-by-one people can be heard shuffling in their sandals as they quietly wander in, find a secluded spot, and do some sort of gentle Tai Chi type exercise. Around the same time the park cleaners arrive to clear the paths and complement the early morning soundtrack with slow regular sweeps. This soothing collection of sounds doesn’t last for long though as before long some sort of industrial machine starts up, and the city’s sounds take over.

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