I was in San Francisco the other day wandering along Fisherman's
Wharf taking pictures, when I passed a crowd of people lined
up on the sidewalk staring across the street. Curious, I looked.
I saw nothing. What the hell are these people all looking at?
Across the street was a busy scene of tourists wandering down the sidewalk,
but nothing in particular caught my eye. Perhaps they were just looking at
the sailboats? The ocean?
I was bewildered.
Abruptly, the scene sprung into action. A homeless looking black man
suddenly leapt up out of hiding from behind a bush at two tourists, startling
them and causing them to jump away in alarm. The crowd burst into
laughter. The homeless man gave the tourists a big glowing smile and
they laughed about it before dropping some coins in his coffee can and
proceeded once again down Embarcadero Street.
Then the man went back into hiding
"This guy has been here for 27 years", confides a swarthy, pirate
looking fellow next to me. "He's the bushman! I come out and watch him all
the time." I was floored. This guy has been doing this for 27 years?!
I sat down on the curb opposite of the bushman, attached my zoom lense
and examined the scene more closely through my viewfinder. The bushman
was crouched down on one side of the sidewalk, clutching two dense, leafy
branches in front of him, obscuring himself completely from people coming
down the sidewalk. Next to him he had a coffee can and the obligatory
cardboard sign, advertising himself as "The Bushman". I sat for a bit
and watched him scare a few more tourists before crossing the street to drop
a couple dollars in his can.
What a cool guy -- a true entertainer.