“Old man Mosie, sick in the head,
Called for the doctor and the doctor said.
Please step forward, turn around,
Do the Hokey-Pokey and get outta town!”
I take all my advice from children’s rhymes. Alert readers of recent blogs may have noted my struggle to pull myself out of a downward spiral. Be it men or machines, the fickle finger of fate was poking me time and again and it wasn’t a joyful dancing Hokey kind of Poke. So my inner doctor and my schedule coincided and I decided to get the hell out of town!
But first a joyful jazz romp on Saturday with my fellow Pentatonics at SF Jazz Center, kids and adults alike feeding chickens, eating banana splits, sitting in saucers and playing with Old Man Mosie’s wife, Grandma Moses. Happy people all singing, dancing and playing hip 5-notes solos on Orff instruments. Home to pack and just time for a short walk with my wife to the cherry blossoms in the park on a gorgeous Spring day. Then off to the airport and some 14 hours in my portable flying movie theater— Captain Phillips, Intolerable Cruelty, A.C.O.D. and a repeat of The Heat (interrupted by the inconvenience of landing before the movie was over—how rude!). Lo and behold, my ride awaited me without a hitch and off we went into Santiago, Chile.
Perfect weather, dropped at my hotel, delicious afternoon nap and then out in the early evening air to stretch my legs. Past Paddy’s Pub, where green hats abounded and live music was coming from folks sitting around a table— fiddles, bodhran drum, Irish flute, guitar, an informal jam session playing tunes familiar to my ears— and they were good!!
Further down the street past the sushi place, the Holiday Inn, the Scotia Bank, the Intercontinental Hotel and of course, not one, but two—Starbucks! Intercontinental it is here, there and just about everywhere in the urban centers of our shrinking planet. On one level, hard to get out of town and fully soak up the sense of being somewhere unique and that’s a loss worth contemplating. On the other, so many cultures co-present in the music and food and films and books in all big towns is at least an interesting new development. Less happy when it’s the corporate squeeze of MacDonald’s and Starbucks, but when Chileans are happily playing Irish music and Scots are dancing to the drums and bells of Samba, it’s a slightly different feeling.
Dinner at the hotel of perfectly cooked chicken with brown rice and vegetables, the restaurant filled with Brazilian sports teams in their yellow shirts and green jackets, the latter a coincidental nod to St. Patrick’s Day. Back to the room to plan my day of classes, the Irish slip jig, The Butterfly, that our kids performed in Salzburg, drifting all the way up to my 12th story window. Tomorrow’s 5th grade class will be seeing if we can play four songs from four continents on three instruments using five notes in 45 minutes. My contribution to the future of mixed cultures.
Feels good to be out of town. Just what the doctor ordered.