The Economic Adventures of a Transborder Street Musician

Heading down south for the big Pesos.

Eye for and eye and ear drum for ear drum… December 22, 2007

blurry downtown 

I know things get a little crazy in this season but I still fail to understand how does common sense, a very intricate but very real organic and intuitive ability with which we humans pride ourselves, could just take a vacation and refuse to intervene even in the most urgently absurd matters of daily life. Maybe I am being over dramatic but I just couldn’t understand what kind of reasoning was behind the PA system bombardment of the Juarez downtown area. Front to front, shops where just waring each other with loudspeakers. “Death by volume…” they seemed to say, “to all!” I mean, there is only so much a huge speaker can achieve in terms of attracting shoppers, after that it’ll just literally blow them away. I did try to busk there though, I guess my common sense decided to join the manager’s of these stores. It didn’t work. I couldn’t even hear myself.

So I went to my usual spot at the museum. I was only bothered by having to repeat my set at the same spot but I was determined to busk. When I got there, lo and behold: municipal street workers drilling the sidewalk at the corner. I figured that they where using the jackhammer in an already dug ditch so the ground would muffle the sound, plus it wasn’t that big of a jackhammer, nothing was going to stop me. I just had to smile it off, otherwise I would have felt really disappointed about not busking at all. So I did, I busked and I laughed at the jackhammer and it worked fine.

A lady did tell me that I needed a mic with all that noise, but I say screw the noise, I can deal with noise, motorcycles, over polluting public transportation, crazy ladies screaming while walking, kids crying, everything, even attempted kicks, I can deal with everything. It’s just those damn PA systems, I mean, talk about Kryptonite to a busker and he’ll tell you the chemical equation of sound acidity… “Yamaha 300 portable version, Peavey sound blaster 2000, Kustom deluxe Earcrusher…(insert a silent gulp)…add a shoe or Latin music store and…oh, the horror.”

Day 14


Amount of money made (BC subtracted): $11.69 (I see a settling trend)

Time played: 1h 30m

Currency exchange rate: $11.10 pesos/dollar


 When I was first walking towards the downtown area through the main downtown strip the exchange rate was between 11.19 to 11.25 pesos/dollar, so when I was coming back and I saw the 11.10 rate I was surprised. I didn’t even look further as I usually do. Coming to find out, the dollar had dropped by .17 Mexican cents while I busked. My regular money exchange place was selling it for 11.08. Talk about a volatile market.