Limonada de Coco. Remarkable pan-Asian restaurants. The choice of the tip being added automatically to your bill. Logical numbering of “calles” and “carreras” (like “Avenues” and “Streets” that make it easy to locate yourself (I’m at 102/ 19). Metrolinea buses that have their own lane. Juan Valdez Cafes. Clubs with live music, like the one I went to last night featuring the group Bahia and their delightful mix of Colombian folkloric styles brought to life with the Pacific Coast marimba and bombo drum mixed with saxophone, trombone, bass, guitar, drum set, congas. The whole room dancing and singing with a show that started at midnight and took it’s first break at 1:30 am. (At which point, I went back to the hotel to sleep until 4:30 am to make my return flight.). Spirited, soulful, musical and highly intelligent people (at least the 40 who came to my Jazz Course). These just a few snapshots of my week in Colombia.
Meanwhile, Bogota. The second biggest city in South America (12 million) after Sao Paulo, (where I also just was). Altitude of over 8,600 feet, so the sensation of feeling a bit winded climbing stairs is more than just advancing age. Many different regions in this diverse country and some of the more popular tourist destinations, like Cartajena, haven’t made it to my list yet. But very interested in the Afro-Colombian population and their music on the Pacific Coast and hey, I wouldn’t mind a few days on the Caribbean as well. But not this trip.
It’s time to go home. Well, for one day before I’m off again. But this time family time in Portland and Upper Michigan. Two weeks without teaching, the needed silence in the music that makes the music sing out stronger when it re-enters. Time with the grandkids, the wife and daughters and in-laws, time without schedules, time to walk the beach and float on the lake.
Meanwhile, deep thanks to the 85 music teachers in Brazil and Colombia for all the great music, laughter and tears, to the course organizers (Uirá, Beatriz, Sandra, Alex and more) who helped me through the rough spots of sickness and did all the behind-the-scenes work that keeps this important work growing and glowing. In the face of every reason to despair about the human race, these are the things that keep me perpetually optimistic and hopeful.
Gracias a todos!