I love the ancient tradition of calling your wares, vendors taking their goods to the streets. You can often hear these sellers wandering down the lane calling out what it is they have to offer. From my house I can hear their voice echoing as they go… there is the person peddling their cart filled with freshly steamed corn on the cob, or the man who can sharpen your knives or clean your stove top. Some of the older ladies use wood clappers or bells to draw the attention of the crowd to the goodies they tote in their baskets.
The other day I was walking down the street and I heard the most particular version of this trade. The man was riding his little bike and singing as he went. The tune was happy and cheerful and his manner was drawing a lot of attention from passer-byers (singing in the streets is not a normal thing to do anywhere). This melody was accompanied by the strangest of words.
“Rats or Spiders,
Mice or Cockroaches.
If you don’t want them I can help.
I have poison and traps,
To kill them all dead.
Rats, spiders, mice and cockroaches,
Dead, Dead, DEAD. “
I don’t know who his lyricist is, but he had this little ditty down pat. He would repeat it over and over as he travelled through the neighborhoods. His voice rose into a frenzy as he belted out the last line ‘dead, dead, DEAD”. I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I listened to him sing it through a second time. I soon realized I wasn’t the only person on the street chuckling over this sales mans impromptu musical. Walking towards me was a very devote Uyghur women; she was wearing a head scarf that covered everything but a thin opening for her to look out. Our gazes met as we passed each other, and I could tell just from the sparkle and joy in her half hidden eyes, that she too was enjoy the travelling musician.