From bagpipes to panpipes: Choripans

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When you stroll around the Seattle Center, a music festival or a street fair on a sunny summer’s weekend, you will probably hear the haunting, breathy sound of South American panpipes. Now there are those who find the instrument annoying, but as for me—I’ll stop, listen for the entire set and buy the CD. 

A few years ago, the Sweetie and I were gliding down San Antonio’s Riverwalk in a tour boat when we heard the ethereal sound of panpipes as we approached the dock. 


The entire boat load waited to disembark until the last strain of El Condor Pasa faded away. (BTW, I thought Paul Simon wrote El Condor Pasa, when in fact, it was written in 1913 as an orchestral piece by the Peruvian composer, Daniel Alomía Robles. Paul Simon added English lyrics in 1970 and included it in the album, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Who knew?)

I have the same fondness for tubas, accordions and calliopes—and a bagpipe will stop me dead in my tracks. Years ago on a foggy Vashon winter’s day, the Sweetie and I were walking on the upper Burton Road by the old grade school when we heard the mournful wail of a bagpipe. We stopped and peered intently into the thick grayness but couldn’t see a thing—no bagpipe, no kilts, no Scottish army, no funeral procession. We waited until the reedy moans faded away but never saw a thing and never solved the mystery. 

Anyways, my granddaughter is studying in Chile for a semester and sent me a video about hearing panpipes on a regional bus. She chose total immersion during her stay—lives with a family who speaks no English, attends classes at a city university, will teach an ESL class to middle school students and gets around using local transit. She enjoys her life there, is learning about the history and culture, loves the music, the street art and, like many others, finds the food surprisingly unspicy and a bit bland

City streets are full of activity: vendors hawking bandaids, Super 8 chocolate bars, and electronics; musicians playing solo or in groups (talent and proficiency variable and not required); listeners and minglers always generous with their attention, their applause and their money; produce stands selling fresh fruits, vegetables and chicken parts; food carts offering easy access to sopapillas, empanadas, and choripans (South American hot dogs made with chorizo).

Victor Jara, Chilean singer-song writer and political activist of the 1970s


She took this short video on her way home after a hike with friends. Apparently performers and  music-on-the-bus is a thing in South America—YouTube has several versions, I like her’s the best.



Spanish Chorizo (not soft Mexican chorizo), linguica, or Italian sausage

Bolillos, baguettes, or hot dog buns

For the chimichurri:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh oregano
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and red pepper flakes, to taste

Combine all ingredients for the chimichurri and stir. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes.

Toast the bread slightly. 
Grill the sausages, either whole or butterflied. 
Put the sausages in the bread, add the chimichurri. There are those who also add ketchup, pickles, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, and plenty of mayonnaise. 



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3 Responses to From bagpipes to panpipes: Choripans

  1. Lara says:

    Not in a million years would I guessed you liked bagpipes!! BAGPIPES! really??? That’s why I love this blog so much

  2. Ginny says:

    The bus musicians came with their own microphone. Maybe they have roadies.

  3. Ronnie Batchelor says:

    Love it!

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