Monday, November 23

"There's a space in the back!"

The small vans or combis used for public transportation in Peru all have a cobrador, someone who opens and closes the van door, calls out the destination to people on the street, and collects the money at the end of the ride. 

The vans are tiny, and usually run over capacity. But what do the cobradores do? They say, get on in, "al fondo hay sitio" ("there's a space in the back")! 

This phrase is also the name of a primetime Peruvian telenovela that talks about class relations. A rich landowner sold his big plot to development; the resulting homesites were only accessible for the wealthy. But the landowner did leave one plot of land for his best worker, a member of the lower class. Generations the class battle in the neighborhood is strong. 

In a country with such a disproportionate distribution of wealth--from families that eat at the finest restaurants in Lima and travel to Europe every summer to the Andes residents who live on less than $1 a day--surely this show reflects Peru classist society.

The following 6-minute clip shows what happens when the poor woman arrives at the stuffy wealthy family's party. Later, it shows what the poor family's hoppin' party is like down the block:


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