True story – I insulted the Colombian singer Carlos Vives and didn’t even realize it.

When I first moved to Miami – like day 3 – GAD and I were taking Lolita out for a walk and there was a man singing behind us. GAD said to me, “that’s Carlos Vives behind us.” I was totally infatuated with CV at the time and so I thought he was kidding, “Carlos Vives sings much better than that.”  CV could clearly hear me because he started singing more loudly. GAD tried to convince me to talk to him but I just didn’t believe him. Once CV passed us and stood in the valet line outside  a nearby restaurant, I was horrified. It was him!

I had missed my opportunity to meet a major Colombian rock star!

Why would this matter to a white girl from Conroe? To say that I have been initiated in the ways of Colombia over the past ten years is an understatement. I know that people in Bogota eat ajiaco while most others eat sancocho. I know about the differences between dancing vallenato, cumbia, and salsa. Most importantly, I know that the people of Colombia are still forced to live in the shadow of the drug cartel despite the fact that Cartegena is one of the most glamorous beach destinations in the world and that there has been a major push in urban development in the past 30 years.

This week is all about Latin music for me as I prepare for a night of food and dancing with my friends and I can’t help but be a little bit sentimental over my past life as a Latin dance instructor and the hundreds of hours of salsa dancing I have done in my day. The mental escape and physical exhaustion that it brings can not be duplicated on a treadmill or elliptical. And though now it is difficult to start a Thursday night’s entertainment at 10:30 like it was ten years ago, I still love it.

Here I am going to share some clips of Carlos Vives as an apology for my actions. Please forgive me!

You need to go about 2 mins in – “Gota Frita” with Shakira

Just for fun – this is a picture that was published in the NYTimes of me salsa dancing at Lincoln Center. Don’t laugh!

3 responses to “Colombia!”

  1. What a great photo! You are one of a kind, Joy Harris. Oh, and that guy may have gotten his picture in the paper, but *I* was the one who got to partner with you for an entire summer and fall when you were an instructor, and create custom moves together with you. Those nights were priceless.

  2. That’s funny, I had a somewhat similar experience (or should I say missed opportunity) with CV. It was 1999 and I was at a Tom Thumb convenience store in South Miami and it was one of those weeks when a hurricane had just missed the Florida Coast and hit Central America. The two lady clerks behind the counter were Hispanic and were chatting about the severity of the storm and the devastation it had inflicted. The customer in front of me (whose face I never quite noticed) chimed into the conversation “esas pobres almas, que Dios les ayude”. I didn’t give it much thought till I was paying for my items and the gals behind the counter said: “That was Carlos Vives, he lives near here and come here regularly”. Oh well, it was a missed opportunity, but there’s always Youtube.

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