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Early Morning Infomercial

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It´s 6am in the morning as the sun slowly rises over the Pacific, meanwhile in the district of Chorrillos the first wave of people have crawled out of their dwellings in a zombie state, barely ready to take on the arduous work week.  The street lights have just turned off and the various street vendors have begun setting up shop on their designated street corner (serving all the breakfast essentials like hot emolientes with artisanal breads to fresh squeezed orange juices).  It´s a typical scene that is quite common all over the city but one that is not witnessed by everyone.  The buses at this hour are one time since there is hardly any traffic.....yet, and even better is the availability of a place to sit once onboard.  If your unlucky you might find yourself on a bus that has several missing windows or broken ones which means you get to ride air-conditioned whether you want to or not. 

In the early morning the bus is like a bed on wheels where it´s nap time onboard for most who haven´t slept off the 12 to 14 hour work from yesterday yet.  Everyone is dressed in a wide variety of outfits suited to meet the needs of their job and it´s clear where their destination is.  Silence dominates on the bus almost like a private meditation session perfect for getting prepared for the long day ahead, a practice which is often visible on the bus ride home at night.  The only sounds audible are the ones generated by the bus itself as in it´s old deteriorated age rattles while it drives through the streets at full speed.  The horn is not necessary at this hour and is uncommon which helps the passengers rest somewhat peacefully.  Read More >>

I found myself in the very situation I have described above as I nestled against the bus window trying to sleep while battling a running nose.  When you only sleep 5 hours a night it is necessary to take advantage of sleeping on the bus, especially when said bus ride is 45 minutes long.  This is a sleep that is dry and weak, a sleep void of dreams that only seems to perpetuate drowziness.  It´s not fulfulling but its necessary. 

Watching myself gradually lose conscientiousness as my eyes began to close little by little I was startled by the loud voice of a man where a awful wool sweater (almost looked like those tacky Christmas sweaters people love wearing in December).  This broke my sleep and put me in a state of alertness that could only be otherwise acheived through drugs or caffeine.  I wasn´t the only one who shared the same irrate look on their faces as the man quickly apologized for his necesary inconsiderate behavior.  Another salesman was the thought shared by many onboard already accustomed to this form of invasive advertising and vending.  Unlike a TV where you can change the channel or just lower the volume during commercials, we were hostages to this man and for the next 15 minutes he had our unwilling attention.

The man announced himself to be a naturista or natural medicine student at some private naturopathic clinic/institute.  Of course he whether he was a student or not was irrelevant since we all knew he was their to promote some companies products.  Resistant would best describe how most reacted to the salesman, at least initially because as his salespitch (in the form of an infomercial) continued on more people began to furnish genuine interest.  The topic was natural tonics and remedies that can help alleviate some the most common ailments rampant in today´s society.  Even I began to listen as my curiosity and interest was sparked by the salemans clever ability to relate to the passangers lifestyle.  A statement was made about the use of Maca root (most commonly used by the pharmaceutical industry today to manufacture Viagra) in order to combat the drowziness and lack of energy experienced by people like us.  It would be a lie to say that after that statement the man´s words feel on deaf ears.  We were hooked and as the salesman in sheeps clothing reeled us in with another anecdote about the benefits of the almight beet, finally came the trap.  While passing out samples of some Eucalyptus-Menthol candy the man brought out products from his duffel bag and began offering them at the low price of S./ 2, which many actually bought (not me of course)!  We had been well played and unlike his noisy entrance the man retreated from the bus without as much as a goodbye. 

I got off at my bus stop 15 minutes later with thoughts of Maca and beets on my mind and an appreciate for good marketing.


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A travel blog about living abroad in Lima, Peru and my travels to cities like Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Inti Aperture is a blog about travel, Peruvian food, culture, adventure, jobs, tourism, travel, news, teaching English, photography, and living abroad, making it a perfect resource for the traveling expat.
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