Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Too young to dance ...

On Sunday, I was loaned a grandmother and grandfather for a day. They picked me up at the home I'm staying at and drove me to a beautiful seaside restaurant all the way in Chapala, Mexico. We walked along a seafront pavement overlooking a very murky lagoon; we saw many shops with artesanías selling some of the most exquisite pieces of hand-crafted work I've ever seen; we walked through the town and saw some truly ancient places. These pueblas have cobblestone roads - cobblestone roads!! And red brick houses. Like something out of a movie. And they have the cars to complement the era - Tatas, Volvos ...

I had a fish dinner, with fillet (pescado con mantequilla) and white rice and vegetable salad. Not too unusual. It was tranquil and all very kosher. Until the music began.

And I noticed the dais at the centre of the restaurant. And the couple moving in rhythm at the front of the room. Then another couple got up and went to the dais. Then another. And another. And pretty soon, that little space was crammed with dancing couplets, and a few singlets, stepping in time to the Spanish beat - some wielding their waists like weapons of warfare.

It was mainly elderly couples on the dance floor. You wanted to see those old men get down - dancing and prancing around their señoras with enthusiasm, if not youthfulness. I laughed so hard at some of the antics they carried on with: hunched shoulders, eyes wide, arms flailing. It was a blast from the past.

My personal favourite was la cumbia. Oh my word! It's a lively, uptempo jive that the musicians false-ended three times before finally completing the song with a trumpet and a flourish. So every time we thought the song was done and people started to leave the dance floor, they started again. And the fiesta would carry on ... . At some points, I could swear I saw people doing something very similar to the dinki mini.

I sat watching these people indulging their rhthymical senses on a spectrum that ranged from the very tranquil to the downright frenetic - and I had to just laugh. I declined my first invitation to join them, but the more I watched, the more I wanted to join in. So when the next uptempo song came around and my hosts extended their hands to me, they didn't have to ask twice. I got out there and stepped and shook and shimmied.

I swallowed pride, fear and all inhibitions and had me some fun. Know what? I really enjoyed it. Right up until my thighs started to feel like I had been treading water for more than an hour. I looked around me and saw jubilation and enthusiasm in faces that had forgotten more than I could remember and bodies that had seen age like I hadn't. I had to will my young legs to keep time, and keep up! After all, I was the young one there!

I wanted to take pictures, but my brand new Nikon CoolPics S2800 stopped charging after a whopping three hours of use. So I have to bring it back to the store and get that resolved. So I had no camera with me. Hence no pictures. But use your imagination. Think of old people - couples very much in love. The elderly gentlemen leading their ladies onto the dance floor, assuming the ready stance, then swaying to the music. Think of very young toddling granddaughters jumping with their prancing grandpas. Think of daughters and fathers dancing together at a respectable distance. Think of lovers throwing respectability out the window and getting as close as skin permitted. It was a wonderful mix of the old and the new, sharing in a moment of tranquil synchronicity. I really liked it. And, apparently, they do this every Sunday!

Would I go back? You bet!

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