On Patriotism

One of the few things that is on schedule here is the national anthem. In the morning at 6 am sharp, a recording of some famous choir belting the national anthem ushers me into the shower; in the evening, it plays in the 6 pm bus on the way home—sometimes passengers drum the ritmo with their slender brown fingers on the cracked vinyl seats. The conductor sings absentmindedly off-key, weaving between hatchback yellow taxis with one hand and texting his mujer with the other.

It seems out of place, the cracked recording of an orchestra–like something out of a black-and-white film—blaring as the bus descends into the Barranquilla shuffle of businessmen shouting into their Blackberries, arepas sizzling at the corner cart, teenagers with boxes of cheap, cellophane-covered treats to hawk in the bus, one row at a time, pushing the packages into your hands and begging with their aged eyes.


2 thoughts on “On Patriotism”

    1. Thanks for reading! Some of these kids have it pretty rough. They jump on the bus and the driver lets them hawk their things for a few minutes before they jump off out the back door.

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