Maybe I’m intolerant. Maybe I’m a snob. Understand, I like a glass of wine or beer from time to time; occasionally, on particularly festive occasions, I like a Margarita. Two, even. And don’t get me wrong, I love a sensuous tumble perhaps more than the next guy. However…
At the relatively remote coastal village where my son and I spent Easter week, I often found myself standing, brushing down my skirt or snapping my towel off the back of a chair to leave the “party”. It’s not the Cubans – they are gracious and respectful, kiss both the cheeks and speak softly, sing often and dance their hearts out. It’s the Canadian men that make me leave the table to seek a solitary chaise in which to watch the waves and read my book. It’s not that they letch after me – it’s their drooling fat-bellied grab for the lovely lithe Chiquitas that sends me gagging. And the mugs of rum kept full until the show is over, made each unattractive man louder with each passing fill.
But this unsavoury company was one of those oddly-wrapped gifts life sometimes offers. Last Wednesday, after six days of dedicated editing, I had completed my manuscript’s revisions! Cause for celebration. Dinner on the terrace watching the sun go down, a sweet trio at my table bringing tears to my eyes as they sang Val’ Carretero, and later, under a cloud-brushed sky, a dance with my beautiful, long-legged son.
And on the Saturday, when we went to Pilon for the “fiesta” I asked my son’s Cuban friend, Natalia, if there was any traditional Cuban music nearby, she took me from the street party with its big booming speakers, to a quiet plaza where the instruments included a 150 year-old hand-cranked organ, and the dancers were slow and sensual and the music divine. I danced with a lovely Cuban man without too much toe-stepping, and felt for a moment transported. To work all day on what I love most and dance through the evening to earthy soul music, well… Let’s just say I could live like that!
So, in the end, I’m grateful to the boring boozing boys, because I got my work done. No Internet, no phone, no friends – it was heaven. I ate my meals for the most part alone and returned to my room to work for hours straight, and then in the late afternoon I’d go down to the beach to float in the waves, and stretch out under the thatch palapa to read my Janet Burroway in preparation for the Humber course starting in May. I felt so Earnest Hemingway. I felt so Annie Dillard. It felt so damn good writing every single day without interruption, so that when I did go down to the beach or to the cabaret in the evenings, I felt good, not all pulled and guilty because I should be writing.