Way down here, you need a reason to move. Feel a fool running your stateside games.
Lose your load, leave your mind behind, Baby James.
Wo-oh, Mexico, it sounds so simple, I just got to go. ~ James Taylor
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First stop, SALSA! Sin comida aqui. ¡Estamos hablando de baile, amigos!
Arriving at “Casa Playa,” our vacation digs right on the beach in Sayulita, state of Nayarit, northwest of Puerto Vallarta and just south of San Francisco, MX, we were thirty yards from Don Pedro’s Restaurant & Bar. As we settled in, the Cuban band “Los Hombres del Negro” started warm-ups at Don Pedro’s next door. Open walls, thatch roofs and humid sea air conducted the throbbing sound to our ears, along with aromas of roasting meats and serious spices. We shook off the “travel stiffs” and began to move, to sway, as we unpacked and stowed luggage, put food in the fridge and got the muchachas into their bathing suits for the trip’s first dip in the ocean.
“Baba” (son-in-law Bassam) took the kids down to the water while I played sous chef to the two with expertise, daughter Jessica and wife Linda, in getting some quick savory food and margaritas prepared. “When in Mexico, …!”
“Los Hombres del Negro” play salsa music from 6 – 11 p.m. every Monday night at Don Pedro’s, and for a $2.50 cover charge you may be able to find standing room at the bar to watch the dancers, dance if you like, sip a beverage of choice and enjoy the superb salsa music as loud as you can stand it. Non-stop, no talking by the band. Just superb, complex-rhythm music that made you want — no, caused! — you to move. Enthusiasm, physical energy, mastery of high-speed, graceful movement on the floor. Sun-browned skin (locals and expats) that contrasted with the sunburns of tourists, all flashing sweat despite the lazy ceiling fans and open walls. No air conditioning. Mostly barefoot dancers, ladies in short dresses and men in skin-tight t-shirts with gold chains around their necks, colorful pants, the occasional Panama or pork-pie hat.
The dancers moved from partner to partner with no more than a flash of the eyes, subtle head movement having affirmed the agreement as the next dance began. Big, bright smiles of super-white teeth like flashing neon. I tried to take phone pix, but without success. Too close to the action — no place to back away. All I captured was colorful blur.
Sweat poured off brows, soaked the men’s shirts, made it plain that life is accepted as it comes for the pleasure of the dance. Long into the night.
Enjoy the colors of Mexico in my gallery below, and be sure to click on each photo for the caption and larger views. Viva! Viva!
Carpe diem. Vita brevis!
© April 25, 2016, by Michael E. Stubblefield. All rights reserved.