Picture, if you will, me wandering around Santiago aimlessly after school, humming some nonsense in my head.

In fact, better yet, just imagine my grinning-gringa face superimposed on this Russian dude’s fair visage:

Yep, that’s pretty much how I roll.

Anyway, so there I was, being special and taking in the sites of Providencia, the neighborhood in which I live and go to school, when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. A bird? No. A plane? No. A delicious empanada? Unfortunately no. A Chilean’s fist? Thankfully no.

Nope, what I saw was a dude swinging from a tree on a couple of purple pieces of fabric:


Seriously, I’m no stranger to street performers: I’ve seen mimes in Moscow, breakdancers in Berlin, new-wave hipsters with keytars in New York and wack winos in Washington, but never ever have I seen this kind of legitimate circus skill on the streets. Thank you, Santiago!

If I was smarter I would’ve snagged a few seconds of video, but, well, you should know who you’re dealing with by now. (If you’ve forgotten, I invite you again to watch the YouTube video I posted above.)

Instead, I just stood there, gringa mouth all agape, and stared at this man in the sky. Meanwhile most Chileans went about their usual business. “How do they not find this entertaining?” I asked myself. But then it hit me — this kind of Cirque de Soleil sh*t must happen so frequently that no one loses a stride over it! Well, except for me. And because of that, this amateur aerial acrobat has unknowingly earned three grinning gringas.




I’d have given his performance a rating of four GG’s had he been wearing a glittery unitard. Too bad. But even without a flashy costume, I still deemed this performance worthy of all the change in my pocket — a grand total of 300 pesos (about $1). I trust he’ll spend it wisely. Hopefully, on a glittery unitard.

By the way, the title of the song in the video is “I’m really glad, in fact, when I finally return home.” Catchy.