MADRID, SPAIN. As I walked down the street, I saw the dreaded table coming up on my right and I knew what was about to happen. I tried to make my way to the other side of the sidewalk, but the busyness of the area had me blocked in. I felt like I was watching a scary movie, and I knew I was going to scream in a few minutes.

This may be a bit exaggerated, but almost every week I pass by a street entertainer in Puerta del Sol who pops his head out of one of three different holes in a table, lets out a yell and scares me. I should be over the initial shock by now, or after the third time he got me, but he must sense my presence because he gets me every single time.

Yet, this live version of scary Whack-A-Mole isn’t the only thing keeping me entertained in Madrid. Being here for about two months, I have never felt bored or un-intrigued and that isn’t just because of Madrid’s museums, parks and other attractions, or the demented man.

You don’t have to pay to go into a museum to find yourself taken aback by art or culture. Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol are full of entertainers, and I am not just talking about singers or bucket drummers. Although you may have to tip a euro or two as a common courtesy, these street performers are nothing less than extraordinary. Actors of all ages dress up as popular TV characters, paint their bodies to look like statues, perform un-crackable illusions or cover themselves in tinsel to look like a ram.

Even though I may get scared every time I see that table in Puerta del Sol, eventually after the initial scare I let out a laugh. One walk through Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol will keep you entertained for the day. But, I do have to ask myself who these people are underneath it all? Maybe one day I’ll find the man who scares me sitting next to me at a restaurant, and I can finally have a chance to scare him. Or maybe, I should just thank him for the entertainment.DSC_0762-610x468 DSC_0769-312x400 DSC_0758-312x400 DSC_0767-610x468 DSC_0759-610x468 DSC_0760-610x468 DSC_0756-610x468 DSC_0754-610x418

Entertainers in Puerta del Sol

Two men meditate while wowing crowds with their optical illusion.