I get home from school/the gym at around 6, and Nam and I cannot turn down the alley - about twenty people are standing and facing the home of one of our Chinese neighbors. As I pass the house and look inside, I see an elaborate altar decorated with pictures of a fairly young woman, flowers and fruits and a monk on each side reciting prayers. It's a funeral, and the pictures are from some time ago, I'm sure. When I head out for dinner 45 minutes later, three canopies are being set up to cover the alley, and four of our neighbors have set up tables underneath, all lined with glasses and plates. An hour later, Tarn and I are on the first floor of the castle when the music begins - a band has set up in the house of the funeral, and we know it will be a long night of singing and music in our alley.
Update: I wrote this post at about 8 o'clock last night. The music went on until about midnight, and started up again at 6:30 this morning. The amplifiers in this country seem to have only one setting - way above the level it should be, to distortion.
Update: this is what I see when I come home at 6 tonight; in fact, I can't get into the castle the usual way, I must go around the back. the white gate to the left, right where I stop, is the gate to the castle. I barely caught the tail end of the man pouring liquor from a bottle on the top of his head into another man's mouth.
Update: 10:00 pm. Tables are set up all down the alley and people are feasting on shellfish and hot pot. Tarn and I got a picture from his balcony, maybe I can post it later. Katherine came in on her bike and an entire table had to be moved so that she could get in the door. They were very apologetic and offered her a beer.
Candle neighbor is serving drinks, other neighbors are helping out in other ways. Community. But why does the music have to be so bad?
Update: It's now 4:40 am and the music started up again 40 minutes ago. You know in the movie Harold and Maude, every time Harold leaves a funeral (he is obsessed with attending them) a bright, colorful marching band passes by in really random places? That's what it was like this morning. I think they are beginning the funeral procession this morning (I hope they start it soon).