Love. Music. España.

As promised, we have our guest commuter for the month of April. Say hi to Ewuradjoa, my friend with whom I worked till she jetted off to sunny Spain to do her Masters. As much as possible, I’ll continue to bring a taste of foreign commutes to The Daily Commute. Comment as usual and share it. Enjoy.

Asomasi

*******

Bright new day in a brand new city. I’m imagining what my first day at school will be like. All sorts of thoughts run through my head. I look at the time. Oh boy! No doubt I’ll be late! I quickly grab my bag and the most important thing for me this day: my map. Which calle (street) do I turn on? My journey begins.

Minutes later, I’m still walking and reading all the names of the streets. Obvious Johnny-Just-Comes like me are staring with various levels of confusion into big maps. First, being in a foreign city, then reading a foreign language.  Imagine. All the tall buildings look the same but for the street names on the sides. The spring air, though fresh, is a bit chilly. Not so for the locals. While I pull my jacket a little closer, ladies are now exposing their beautifully shaven legs in miniskirts and shorts. Guys wear tight t-shirts to show off their muscles, built over the winter in gyms, and of course lots and lots of tattoos – freshly acquired and old fading ones.

Right there on the street lovers are busily kissing without a care in the world for toddlers tagging along to their mums pushing buggies. Couples hold hands for warmth and affection. (And by couples I mean man and woman, man and man and also woman and woman. Love is certainly in the air. This is, after all, Salamanca, where every kind of love is allowed. My only prayer, “God, if You’re about to burn this place please let me quickly escape as you helped Lot!”)

Everyone is generally moving quickly to wherever. I finally reach the Metro station. A huge security dog is gagged and lying peacefully on the floor waiting for a victim, while its attendants choose to chat pretty girls up. Commuters are saying goodbyes. More hugs and kisses. I do the usual ticket check. Where is that blue line in the map to Tribunal?! All this left-right-left-right is confusing. If only this was Ghana, I’d just walk to my junction and without calling, a trotro or a taxi will beckon in Twi, “Are you going?”, or simply annoyingly honk a few times.

Weaving through these corridors I hear music. How nice for the authorities to play music to sooth stressed locals’ nerves! Further down, the music becomes a bit too loud. What could be happening? Oh la la! Here’s this lady in her mid-thirties, nicely dressed, singing her own lyrics to some instrumentation of Que Sera Sera into her microphone. Surely, this is just like the boys on the streets of Accra who will clean your windscreen without being asked and pull out their hands to receive something afterwards. I was right. There on her mat are a few scattered cents and uño Euro coins. Smart girl. No boss to report to, start work anytime and finish anytime your mat is filled with your daily bread.

Finally, I get to the platform to wait for my metro. The next one will be arriving in a minute. I just might make it to class on time! The whistle eventually blows and we’re off.

Standing steadily, I notice more lovers kissing. Ebei! People are reading newspapers and … Is that music I hear? Not again! A tiny man appears, with his sound system neatly tucked in a trolley, holding his guitar, lost in his Spanish tunes.  There’s a flute hanging down from his neck as well. How on earth is he going to collect money from all these people seriously typing stuff in their iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys, and all? Only God knows what they’re even saying on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Whatsapp, whatever.

He quickly finishes playing his tune and packs up, moving up the coach, to my amazement, with an open bag , also hanging on his neck, gesturing for cents to one Euro coins and whatever passengers would offer. All he says is, “Gracias, gracias” and on he goes. By the time he finishes moving from one end of the coach to the other, here we are at my drop-off station.

As I get off, walking towards the exit, I see him headed for the next coach to start this process all over again. Clever guy, just like the lady in the corridor. With one shake of my head, I walk up the stairs and look for the right calle to my school, praying for my course to get off to a great start. I wonder why the beggars on the streets of Accra don’t entertain us rather than just sorrowfully singing and hanging out their hands for their silver collection.

~∞~

This is my commute in the city of Salamanca. I hope you liked it. Feedback is most appreciated. Gracias!

Ewuradjoa.

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About Kwaku Dankwa

By day, I'm an advertising copywriter. That's what I've done all my working life (National Service doesn't count). Husband of Esther, father of Jesse, and servant of Christ. I previously wrote a blog on the dramatic side of public transport in Accra, "The Daily Commute: From Bridge to Ridge." Enjoy.
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20 Responses to Love. Music. España.

  1. Ama says:

    I think you have a point about the buskers. If the Accra beggars must beg, the least they can do is sing for their supper. Forget teaching the street people to weave baskets or sew used Fanmilk wrappers into handbags; how about some guitar, accordion or mouth-organ lessons so they can entertain us before “taxing” us for our spare change? After all, isn’t that how we got Onipanua and Pozo Hayes? All you charitably inclined readers out there – over to you!

  2. Abby says:

    I loved it!! I could actually picture the area and the people. Well done Ewuradjoa, I’m sure u r better at finding ur way around now, lol. Will contact u for lessons in the Spanish language. Ciao!!

  3. Dee says:

    This is great! I could just see your facial expressions and hear your voice as I read it. Miss you Raj!! I love how there’s love everywhere! Unlike Ghana, where even married couples feel uncomfortable with PDA (public display of affection).

    • Raj says:

      Dee….i miss you bad. charley and with all the love flowing it makes me miss my family so bad especially when i see the moms hugging and loving their kids. as for the couples one, am going to be a typical ghanaian and not tell you how i feel here so see me in chambers. lol gracias!!!!

  4. k says:

    Ah Dee !!! ………….PDA di3 where is the anigye in dat one ??? u myt as well put a dog collar on us !! …………….
    Raj has moved from jugglin Jeff (haaard guy!!) to maps?…but Raj paaa d way technology come cudn u like use GOOGLE MAPS on ur fone or smthn ???….lol..

    • Raj says:

      very funny…….charley even though i dey spain i dnt have a smart fon oooooo. so how i for do. simple have my big map. but now am the champion and i hardly look out for signs i move with my guts.

  5. Guy Lou says:

    for we the local ones, all this talk is really very surreal. Can we quickly get back to our local tosky scenes.
    We love esoteric stuff, but say yea, efie ne fie

  6. apa says:

    Hey! lovely post! greetings from Milano, Italia! As we’re kinda like neighbours, this is a rather similar to what I experience most days: the accordionist, violinist, karoake singers, roma folk music and well dressed but confused looking elderly ladies (atually, I think it’s just one old woman, lol). Have you yet met the PERPETUALLY pregnant gypsy women who beg on the trains? I’ve always wonder when they are going to “deliver” or maybe it’s a case of beer bellies (?!) LOL!

    Best wishes and a lovely time in Spagna!

    • Kwaku Dankwa says:

      You have all these on the streets of Milan? Incredible. Then the beggars in Ghana are shortchanging us paa!

      If you haven’t, you should read “This one beggars belief”. It was one of my first posts.

    • Raj says:

      Apa thanks a lot and i could not help but node my head as i read through your comment. Yep i have met them gypsie ladies, very interesting people, they don’t know how to keep it under quite shouting and talking unto of their voices. Well neighbour once again thanks.

  7. Yohan Odonkor says:

    I’ve been reading “The Daily Commute” for a long while now, but never bothered to comment. Probably ’cause i copy the post and read it a bit later when i am free. ‘nyway, i love them all, and i us’ had to comment on this one, so here goes…

    I really loved it Ewuradjoa!! I could almost picture the area, the people, and the scenes around — the singing esp. I’m sure you’re not bumping into dead ends ‘nymore, lol.! I’ve always wanted to learn spanish but never had the time. My sis and cousin are though… and i took on japanese, lol! ‘nyway, nice blog!!

    • Kwaku Dankwa says:

      Makes us all want to take a trip to Spain, eh?

      Japanese, though? I’m impressed! I know one person who speaks it. Maybe I should challenge myself as well, eh?

      • Yohan Odonkor says:

        Yep!! …makes us all wanna take a lasting trip there… Spain.

        Oh! …and you know someone who speaks Japanese?!!! …that’s cool…! I always wanted to know someone like that, or even better… an actual Japanese. That’d be real sick!!

        And yeah… you should take on the challenge… you’ll have more fun than you know it. Sayanora tomodachi!! [Japanese for “Goodbye friend!!”]

    • Raj says:

      thanks Yohan no more bumping in dead ends. Am learning the language and all the rules and regulations in it adds to my fun. and oh am glad i have been able to pull you to comment. that´s one achievement in my kitty. You have good day. God bless!!!

      • Yohan Odonkor says:

        lol! Well… you’re good i must admit… real good!! I’ll buy you one tomtom as a prize… bless ya!!

  8. RAY JAY says:

    Miss u Raj…cuidar!

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