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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkTravel & Outdoors | April 2009 

The Sweet Low Down: Mexico Way - Part 4
email this pageprint this pageemail usJan Baumgartner - PVNN


Saturday Night Solo with the Buena Vista Social Club (kuyman, Courtesy: Flickr)
Saturday Night Solo with the Buena Vista Social Club

As I do most nights, and thousands of nights before, I prepare my solo meal. Tonight, whole wheat tortillas from the Tuesday market stuffed with fresh ranchero cheese, salsa and a homemade slaw, steamed local asparagus. My date is Ibrahim Ferrer, the Afro-Cuban musician, once part of the Buena Vista Social Club. We dance on my cold stone floor, candles lit and wavering behind a single glass of red wine. He holds me close, his firm brown hand against my waist. I feel his breath against my cheek. The stone heats.

If you are so fortunate to have next to you, even if only for the moment, someone you love or someone to love, grasp that passion with both hands. Pull it close to your flesh and feel all it is to be human. Let two hearts beat as one. Caress the moment as if your last. Let Ferrer take you to places that are yours alone. Be thankful for bodies moving side by side. This moment is yours, and yet never guaranteed. Let Ferrer sweep you off your feet, be swooned, dipped, twirled, laughing, loose and carefree, living for that precious moment. Live the beat. Make love. It is fleeting and may never return as you once remembered.

Memories are like ghosts - just when you think you're living, alive again, they come back to haunt you, draping across your body like gossamer; thin and veiled, nearly weightless, but enough as to feel yesterday breathing against your skin.

Absorb the moment like a drunk savoring the last drop of tequila; a young widow living south of the border longing for a body to dance with, side by side, if only to remember.

To you, Ibrahim, dancing no doubt, cheek to cheek. Saludos.

Postscript: Only heed the above advice if not an evening of full moon, otherwise, all bets are off. And keep the Benadryl handy.

* A wise not so old friend recently offered this insight:

You don't write for them.
You write for yourself.
Always, everywhere, whenever. Writing is a message in a bottle.
And there is only a God Of Fair Beginnings.

Thank you.


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A native Californian, Jan Baumgartner is a writer and book editor dividing her time between surviving in Maine and living in Mexico. Her writings on Mexico will be included in the new literary journal, Lady Jane (San Francisco Bay Press, 2009) Her background includes scriptwriting, comedy writing for the No. California Emmy Awards, and travel writing for The New York Times. She has worked as a grant writer for the non-profit sector in the fields of academia, AIDS, and wildlife conservation for NGO's in the U.S. and Africa. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous online and print publications including the NYT, Bangor Daily News, SCOOP New Zealand, Wolf Moon Journal, Media for Freedom Nepal, and BanderasNews in Mexico. She's finishing a memoir about her husband's death from ALS and how travels in Africa became one of her greatest sources of inspiration. She is a Managing Editor for OpEdNews.

Click HERE for more articles by Jan Baumgartner.



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