Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Salsa Time! (and not the dip)

Before moving forward, I guess you all want to hear the conclusion to my riveting leaky ceiling story.

After finishing that posting, about 10 minutes later, right around 10 a.m.ish, again, the doorbell rings. Surprise, it is the all-too-familiar face of my Fast Service Networker (FSN). I was rather worn out that morning having not slept much the night before, and also having just hashed out the tale for all to read, I'm sure my disheveled appearance underscored just how exasperated I was with the situation.

I greet with an English "hello," and as I'm saying that, he greets in a Spanish "buenos dias," so I recovered and echo the same. "How is your Spanish?" he asks. Not good, but I'm studying some on The Stone and there is going to be a class at the Consulate soon, which I'm looking forward to taking. Though the whole time, I feel a little like Jennifer Aniston from Office Space (just substitute "pieces of flair" with "words in Spanish," and yeah, you get the picture. And yes, I just compared myself to Jennifer Aniston). "I don't really like talking about my flair."

Moving right along, I ask the FSN point blank, "Any chance they finish this today?" No. "OK, well, thanks."

Tweedle Lazy took the the day off, I guess, so Tweedle Dee was on his own. First he tinkered on the roof for a couple of hours, followed by his mandatory lunch and smoke break. Then they came back, painted in the ceiling, and the FSN shocks me by saying they are done. It will be interesting to see how our new roof holds up during the next rainstorm, as I got the impression some corners were cut so they could Just Finish the Job Already. At least I don't have to deal with that for a while, and consider the lesson learned: Only in the most dire of situations will I be requesting work done on the house.

There is more to Mexican culture, however, then poor work performance. And last night, we sampled a little more of it. One of Natalie's colleagues got a flyer about a salsa dance lesson and invited us to come along.

That yellow smiling face to the right is actually a pretty good rendering of our instructor, though a little less cartoonish. He even wore the hat.

Want to try something hard? Try being naturally void of rhythm, grace and coordination; then try learning some complicated dance steps; and for the kicker, receive those instructions in a language you don't know. Oh, and I forgot to mention that we were in a non-air-conditioned gymnasium. There is a lot of movement in salsa dancing, but it is a far cry from being an intense aerobic workout. All the same, I was sweating like two-a-day football workouts in full pads under a Kentucky August sun.

The first dance steps we went through were pretty intense. There were probably about 40 steps or so to it, and I did my best to watch his feet because I wasn't getting anything from the oral instructions. In high school, I had learned a few basic steps such as a grapevine and the cha-cha-cha step, which was very similar to the move he referred to as "classico" and was used as the starting point and ending point for the dances. So that helped some.

But this was a whirlwind experience. There was no keeping up this dance - not at the rate he was teaching it, anyway, and definitely not for a beginner  like the three of us.

The second dance was much easier, as long as you were the man. This was a co-ed dance, and the man's main job was to showcase and guide the woman while she twirled about. I made plenty of mistakes, but as long as I was paired with a woman who knew what she was doing, I actually did alright. Poor Natalie, however, has about the same natural dancing skills I possess, plus this dance was very complicated for the woman. She was relieved, I believe, when this lesson ended. Sadly, we don't have any pictures (or video) of our attempts at salsa.

When that was done, they handed out some Tecate Light and we watched while the instructors and some late arrivals took to the floor and amazed us with their dancing. Then, shocking to us, many of our "classmates" got up and started doing steps much more complicated then the ones we just learned. We couldn't understand why they were taking the class when obviously they already were experienced dancers.

For example, during the crazy-hard first dance, there was a pubescent, tall, overweight guy behind me. Being behind me, I never really got to see him dance, but I was guessing it wasn't good. After the first dance, he sat out the second. Made me feel good. Sure, I suck, but at least I was brave enough to keep going. And I don't even know Spanish.

During the dance party, he went out there with two girls, and was spinning them all over the place. Then he started twirling and spinning while spinning them. He was very, very good. I was shocked because on the surface, he looked like he was an awkward teen still growing into his body.

Don't know if this was a one-time only experience or not, but it was fun if not a bit humbling.

4 comments:

  1. First, I am glad they finished the repairs. I hope it is a long term fix.
    Second, what a fun night.
    I have been told (I am not sure of the accuracy) that Mexicans determine if their kids are developing properly by whether or not they can dance. Well, at least move to the music. If it is true or not, dancing and music is a huge part of the culture.

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  2. I am really surprised at the trouble you are having with the repairs. The GSO guys here in Monterrey are really great. They are generally on time and do a good job. And their lunch is never more than an hour. :) They actually have never asked me for water or anything (only if they could use the microwave to heat up their lunch, which of course they can, though they always eat outside and not at the table in our house), and half the time when I offer they say no.mmBut then, Monterrey is sort of a weird animal, so to speak. It's very different from the rest of Mexico.

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  3. We actually have this dvd and the 2nd one. Being from the STL area, winter suck. Our house had a large great room with terra cotta floors, so over the winter on Wednesdays, we'd have friends over to salsa (after dinner/dessert, of course). We'd learn a new step each week by pausing and replaying it. Learn the new step for about 30 minutes and then for the next hour we'd dance all we'd learned to an Ipod Salsa mix we burned. Had a REALLY great time and hope to continue the trend overseas with new friends. Are we great, no... but we didn't kill each other or get divorced over it. Keep it up and HAVE FUN!

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  4. Hello!

    This post made it into the Weekly State Department Blog RoundUp! Check it out over at www.TheLifeDiplomatic.com.

    Have a great weekend!
    -Andrew

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