The Economic Adventures of a Transborder Street Musician

Heading down south for the big Pesos.

Day 2 November 12, 2007

Filed under: the people — ramonalvarado @ 12:52 am
Tags: , ,

So, that savage morale stab of $3.23/1.45h didn’t cut it to deter me from coming back. It was a test; I’d pick the same spot just out of spite, to make it tremble in surprise as it felt me walk towards it and eventually on it. I could see the cement sidewalk furiously frowning at my presence as if it knew I had a vendetta to resolve against it. A swirling breeze of dust swept past my ragged clothes as I (insert slow motion effect) made my way towards the spot while revengefully humming the base line of Nancy Sinatra’s This boots were made for walking. And then there I was again, carefully trying to unfold my crooked hat into a recognizable bucket-like shape to toss it in front of me and begin another street practice session. The way I see it is simple: I could be practicing at home; but why would I want to do that?

As one walks pass the border bridge and into Juarez Avenue, the main downtown strip of ciudad Juarez, one encounters many faces of the city: the impossibly busy Milusos (handyman, errand boy, or the one with the thousand uses, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) walking from business to business running errands, the pharmacy employees endlessly yelling from their counters hoping to get you interested in some pills, any pills; one also sees the hundred faces of Wait from inside all the cars in the line to cross towards the United States. Downtown Juarez is a busy place, but it is with great difficulty that one struggles to comprehend what it is that its people are busy doing. But anyway, in the midst of all of those faces one also sees the many faces of the people sitting in the streets asking for money. I know I may have made it sound so easy to find the spot I’ve used this two days, but reality differs unkindly from the account I now tell you. As I made my way towards the end of the strip I kept judging the places where I could settle by the distance it had with other people in the sidewalk business and so I ended up walking the whole length of the strip until I encountered the front of the Museo ex-Aduana (Ex-Customs Office building turned history museum). There I was safe from infringing and stepping on anybody’s socio-economical toes. The length of the walk made me think about how much was I a part of this socio-economical stratum or how much was I an invader. I’m sure there are plenty of coins to go around for everybody, from the native Tarahumara family literally camping on the sidewalk to the accordion player, father of two, to me, but I couldn’t help feeling weird even as a lower class North American student for taking something that might have otherwise ended up in their hand. That guilt banished surprisingly quickly when I realized they made more than I did. It was a good day.

 Day 2  

Amount of money made: $12. 77

Crossing the border: .65 c

Bag of Cheetos: .55 c

Total gain: $11.57 (J)

Time Played: 1 hour 35 minutes

Doing it again: priceless again (in your face stupid spot!).



3 Responses to “Day 2”

  1. john Says:

    Congratulations on the new blog. It’s a good idea to document this part of your economic life. Let’s hope you don’t generate too much competition from your readers as a result. After all, close to 13 bucks for an hour isn’t too shabby.


  2. Saw Lady Says:

    Greetings from a fellow street performer!
    I applaud your enthusiasm and guts. Money comes and goes, but the memories you now have from the experience – priceless.

    All the best,

    ‘Saw Lady’

  3. quisi-cosa Says:

    Some observations from the last time I wondered around downtown on a Saturday morning: A taxi driver, polishing his car over and over (it was shining but he wouldn’t stop.) A man roller skating dangerously between two buses as if he had the appointment of his life, some guy talking over the phone about an unconscious girl in a hotel, and a whole non-tax payer commerce of street burritos from which I couldn’t resist.
    I think Juarez looks like a big city now…

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