Postcard from Oaxaca, Mexico: Surrounded by sounds of entertainment

Anyone longing for a bit of live music can simply stroll to the Zocalo in the heart of Oaxaca almost any time of day. Student orchestras and the full state band perform regularly, often challenged by street musicians trolling for tips nearby. Guitars, flutes, marimbas, horns, accordions. Wedding parties parade around town on weekends followed by bands and dancers.

The Zocalo attracts couples who have danced together for years, hardly needing a nudge from partners to stay completely in step executing the most complicated maneuvers of traditional danzones. But the youthful exuberance encountered on a Friday night in Parque El Llano was a refreshing hoot. The high heels and tennis shoes in the photo above managed to partner up for dancing at the end-of-the-week party.

But who brought on the clowns? Clowns increasingly amplified with wireless microphones. People of all ages crowd around, laughing and applauding as on cue.

This enduring affection for street performers clowning around is found throughout Europe. It never translates into anything close to amusing for me.

I grew up laughing over Bozo the Clown and the Three Stooges. How did I get so jaded?

Clowns make me frown, but music makes me smile.

Postcard from Budapest, Hungary: People-watching

An enduring relationship: she likes a man to be seen and not heard.

A couple just taking the plunge.

Budapest does the blues with glasses of rosé.

Street musicians resembling throwbacks to the sixties.

A water-goblet xylophone player reminiscent of the Ed Sullivan Show of the same period.

Tourists. Tourists everywhere.

Everyone armed with cellphones.

Nuns on the run.

Milka appearing malcontent with stripped-down sunbathers nearby.

A young girl splashing innocently.

Another realizing the lap she’s approaching belongs to a figure much more ominous than Santa.

A young boy quickly casting aside his childish toy to pose upon a voluptuous bench.

A Roma protesting eviction from the park she chose as home.

Oh, and a couple of seniors taking a selfie in a ruin pub.