Earlier in the week Mary an I got a heads up on the 4th Annual Blues Festival this Friday and Saturday night.
This is the kind of music we grew up on and, true to form, I’m shaking my booty as I pay for admission.
The Hotel Sautto on Hernandez Macias is a moderately priced destination with, as the lovely two women taking tickets tell me, three or four hundred rooms. You can imagine the courtyard – all arched colonnades and flowering trees.
Rooms at the Sautto go for $35.00 US per night. While the place was obviously once grand, the interior public rooms now have a little chipped plaster and some low-key water stains. The common room where guests can watch t.v. or read could truly use a woman’s touch. I looks like … ah … some hostels I stayed at in Europe. I suspect the rooms are spartan though adequate, but this all could be made up for by the gardens on the grounds.
Someone is loving on those flat, fan-shaped cacti, climbing roses, lime trees and huge flowering trees I can’t place. That person is working every day to smooth the sand around the plants, weeding, watering and sweeping the brick circles that surround different groupings.. The big flowering trees I don’t recognize have small fading paper-thin lavendar blossoms. Though I remember that the Jacarandas flower in April, I wonder if I’m looking at late bloomers?
People enter the grounds from a parking lot in the back and when I ask about the big trees I’m haughtily informed by four gringo guys that (a) I’ve mispronounced Jacaranda and (b) that it is Bougainvillea so intertwined with the trees that I can’t see where one begins and the other leaves off. Geesz guys, thanks for the info.
I know a lot about the Sautto’s gardens because the first band wasn’t destined to become my favorite. While Mary chats with our table mate, a 17 y.o. musician named Joseu, I’ve wandered alone down the brick walk way. In the middle I hear a parrott calling high up in a tree, but I can’t locate him. ‘What a tiny paradise,’ I think to myself and, like humans do, wish I had this kind of retreat where I live rather than the parade of buses groaning up the hill directly in front of my living room windows. Are we never satisfied?!
As I study the great big flowering trees, my unpleasant encounter with the gringo males is redeemed by three young Mexican men walking up from the parking lot. Towards the rear I’ve stopped in my tracks in front of the trunk of a small ‘tree’ so curved and looping back onto itself that its branches look like an Islamic medallion, before its round canopy starts at about 5 and a half feet. I find myself and one of the Mexican kids standing together underneath this wonder and fingering its leaves while his companions go on ahead. No one can see us and I wonder if I’m doing something stupid. No. The axiom that ‘like attracts like’ is true more often than not. He, smiling at my wonder about this bush/tree, explains that it is the origin of the Bougainvillea vine covering the surrounding trees, and that it had probably originally been trained like a bonzi to form this living arabesque of 6″ round limbs before being allowed to climb.
Mary plays air guitar! I haven’t met many chicas so unconcerned with how people look at them that they can allow themselves to be transported by runs on the guitar or, in my case, the bass. In my experience women are usually the first people up to dance, but rarely do you see women so involved with chords and riffs that they almost involuntarily follow the notes in the air. Mary says I’m the first woman she’s met who does it too and, upon recognizing kindred souls, we completely give ourselves to the second band on a James Brown song.
Look at those old gringas grooving on the dance floor! They’re having (a) time of their life. They’re chunking and high-steppin’ to the bass line just as if they were 20 and free and wild. They’re dancing with ten other women who look frighteningly close to a line dance. (At least, I am!) The waiters are grinning and running drinks to the tables where people are shouting and waving their arms in the air. White and red stage lights are dissolving on the band while Bacchus does the shimmy in the corner. It looks like the Little Dipper is over our heads. There’s a wind in the tall trees making the branches sweep across the indigo and the lanterns coming on in the plaza swing just a little bit. The wind makes the scene feel wild, almost feral, like Dionysus is in the house.
As little Oliver says, “Please, sir. Can I have some more?”