la Murga 2

the bus: pass the vino

The bus for the men was an experience. They told me beforehand it was “the fun part of Murga.” Wow, ok… I was enjoying myself dancing…

chatting on the way... and nice corn rows

chatting on the way... and nice corn rows

The big orange bus had pleather seats, and looked like it had just driven in from the 70s. If Josh and Phil had a love-child in the form of a bus, it would look like this. Buenos Aires has a thing for wacky buses though. The public buses sport disco balls and blue lights at night.

How to recreate that first bus ride…

First fill a 70s dream bus with men. Then add another 15. Get the bus moving down a bumpy street, at which point a few stragglers should manage to catch up and hang on. Everyone should be doing at least 2 of the following: drinking, smoking, singing, changing clothes, banging on the roof, or whistling at women as we pass. Btw, those hanging onto the bus did so purposely. They get to chat with the couple in the group that is riding their motorcycle alongside. Actually they’re not just chatting. They’re passing a pitcher full of wine back and forth as the motocycle and bus swerve about. The motorcycle should nearly hit the bus, but the only casualty should be the driver’s cellphone bouncing along the pavement and under cars. It’s hard to carry on a conversation with a man hanging out of a bus passing you alcohol on a bumpy street while also texting your friend and avoiding taxis. But at least he has air to breathe. Those near a window on the bus should stick as much of their bodies out as they can, both to make more space, and also to flail arms in time with the songs. You get points for getting passersby in the streets to flail as well. The songs are dirty too, but really you have no idea what anyone is saying. This is Lunfardo and everything is backwards – literally. And I don’t think you’re picturing enough singing – everyone is singing and laughing. This should go on for 30-45 minutes, and should happen 3 or 4 times per night, Saturdays and Sundays for all of February. If it’s the second to last trip of the night, introduce a giant bag full of ham and cheese sandwiches – Murga fuel.

The amazing thing is that this is happening all over the city. All the Murga groups are in buses crisscrossing each other on their ways to different barrios. It’s time to show off what they’ve been practicing for the past 6 months.

The bus reminds me of an interesting phenomenon of Buenos Aires that was made much more apparent by the bus rides. There is nothing wrong with sharing a drink with 60 other people. I noticed this first with the maté culture… a cup with a bombilla (metal straw) is passed around and everyone shares it. It’s an everyday thing. On the bus, usually they would take a 2 liter soda bottle and saw off the top, making a giant cup. Someone would fill it with ice and soda, or wine and pass it around. I asked my friend Alejandro if he wanted Herpes. “No, por supuesto.” Of course not. “Well that older guy has herpes… he just drank from this.” With a smile he responded, “Oh well.” An interesting way to deal with it. It’s kind of amazing there aren’t crazy diseases passed around. Or maybe that’s why there aren’t… super strong antibodies.

In any case, back to bus. We just arrived.

1 comment

I liked your letter. has a great capacity for writing stories porteñas un abrazo!!! florrr

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