Riding a micro (bus) in Santiago is always interesting. It’s where the informal economy thrives; you can buy anything from the infamous parche-curitas (bandaids) to ice cream, peanuts, mysterious Peruvian creams to cure what ails you, nail files, ankle braces, coloring books, bottled water or candy bars.
You can also get entertained by the various musicians or sometimes comedians who will perform whether you like it or not for a few coins.
Usually, I like the musicians. They sing traditional Chilean folk songs, and sometimes entire bands get on. I especially like the ones with panpipes. I’m a sucker for panpipes. When I like the music and it doesn’t seem too dangerous to take out my wallet, I’ll give a coin to the performer.
However, my luck has been bad lately when it comes to micro performers. It all started the other day when I got on a micro in the middle of a full-fledged reggaeton performance. The guy had some sort of African drum on which he was beating out the rhythm and then rapping along about I don’t know what. I tried to turn up my mp3 player to block out the drumming (it was REALLY desagradable) but my volume didn’t go that high.
Then my bad luck REALLY started. I transferred to a different bus and there was a man clapping and singing. His voice…oh my god. I mean I realize that he is trying to make a living, and his life must be very difficult, but whoever told him that he should sing to get by was sadly mistaken. His voice makes me want to curl up in the fetal position with my hands on my ears screaming “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA.” I actually considered giving him money to STOP singing.
That same day I got back on the bus and who was there? The same singing-clapping guy. Sheesh.
Then today coming home from the institute, who was waiting for the bus with me? The signing-clapping guy.
Just my luck.
Where are the panpipes? I like panpipes…