Saturday, June 15, 2024

Roberto the Clown: entertaining drivers for 22 years

For the past 22 years, Roberto Barnan has dressed as a clown and juggled for Mexico City’s frustrated drivers as he bounces between the red lights at the crossroads of Avenida Baja California and Calle Medillín. 

The city is known for its terrible traffic and pollution, but Roberto has capitalized on this and brings a few seconds of entertainment to the local commuters.  Depending on the day, he makes between 200 and 300 pesos, but he appears to thrive more on the warm reception he receives from his audience. 

The early commuters are always the most pleased to see him, he explains, but it’s also fantastic to see a child’s face light up as they pass him in the street. As we chat between red lights, Roberto returns numerous greetings from various people going about their daily lives.

Roberto is a married father of five and grandfather of many but he is the only juggler in his family. What does his wife think of his job, I asked.  “She likes my job,” he says and then chuckles as he adds, ‘probably because it brings in money.” 

We talk briefly about the city and how beautiful it is before the conversation turns to politics.

“It’s always best not to talk politics in this town’, he says, but given a magic wand, Roberto would make everyone more honest. “It would help with so many problems.” 

Roberto’s message to anyone considering visiting Mexico is not to believe everything on the television. 

For the most part the country is calm, with beautiful places and cultural traditions that cannot be found anywhere else in the world — not to mention the juggling clown in Roma Sur. 

Mexico News Daily

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