Street performers in Guayaquil, Ecuador work as hard as any for their money. Performing astonishing feats of balance and coordination, they put on impressive shows for the spare change that people might be willing to hand them. But what is even more amazing is that they put on these shows at busy intersections and crosswalks at red lights when traffic is stopped. Hurrying out into the intersection with their props, they juggle pins, spin balls, twirl hoola hoops and balance objects on their noses. These two buskers actually combine several of these all at once. And as if that were not enough to inspire the audience to pass them a small token of appreciation, they do all of this while keeping a watchful eye on traffic. These performers can be found in many larger centers in Ecuador and many of them work the corners and crosswalks for their living. Having skills that are almost superhuman, they have obviously practiced long hours to perfect their shows. The first busker in this video spins a basketball effortlessly on his finger, but the giant umbrella in his other hand suggests there is something more to his performance. Sure enough, he balances the ball on the point and raises the umbrella over his head. Somehow he keeps the ball spinning, despite the fact that he can't possibly see it. As he puts the handle of the umbrella on his forehead, it doesn't seem possible that he can actually keep them both balanced as the ball spins. Then unbelievably, his other hand reaches between his knees to where he has been holding three tall bowling pins. Without dropping the umbrella or the ball, he begins to juggle the pins. Not being content with a simple rhythm, he throws some higher and gives them an extra spin. He lets one balance on his chin and then works it back into the juggle as it falls. He can't possibly be able to see the pins because his eyes seem locked on the umbrella above. He's doing all of this with peripheral vision and instinct. To make his show even more appealing, this performer provides music that is very fitting of his lively performance, relying on a small boom box on the sidewalk. He's still got one eye on the traffic light and when it is about to turn green, he closes the umbrella, collects his ball and pins, and gives a bow. He looks to the crowd for a little generosity in the form of a coin or two from the motorists. But watching this performance for a few minutes, it became clear that tips are hard to come by. He only collected one dollar out of the three performances that he put on for the tourists filming this show. He alternates with his partner who puts on a similarly impressive performance, juggling pins and spinning a hula hoop, balancing a spinning ball on his head at the same time. The story behind many of these street performers is that many have come from neighboring countries such as Peru or Argentina where life is even harder. Many arrive in Ecuador as refugees and struggle to survive. These two buskers seemed intent on impressing the tourists filming them and they succeeded. They were also given a tip that left no doubt that their work was appreciated, as was the permission to film them.
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