Norman's Bar

Sun 22 Dec 2013 01:05
Last night night we went dancing. 

The bar gradually filled up as the band set up and the barbecue coals glowed alight. First it was mostly cruisers, greeting each other, catching up: "I thought you were leaving!", "We tried but we got to the fuel dock and our fuel cap had seized on tight!"; "Hey, we booked that little hotel you recommended in Cartagena, thanks for letting us know about it!", "Great! You'll love it, there's a super little restaurant around the corner too, turn left and you can't miss it" New introductions are made, last night it was an Italian couple, discussing ways of making pasta on passage without having a big dangerous gas hungry pan of boiling water on the stove, and the time before it was a Canadian Portuguese family, we relived the pastries of Portugal...

As the band starts up the locals start to drift in. The cruisers have taken most of the tables but they fill the gaps and move in chairs and stand in clusters in the half light spilling from the bar, bottles of the local Brion beer in everyone's hands. The food starts coming out from the barbecue, hungry eyes following the waitresses - is it our turn? And the band starts up.

People begin to dance. Guys in black shirts and white chinos with liquid hips; chaps in shiny grey trousers with open necked stripy shirts and footwork to die for; large ladies simply swaying from one foot to the other but whose shoulders have a life of their own; syncopating couples moving as one; and dotted about a little self consciously, Europeans and Americans doing the school disco jiggle. As different tunes start up the voices swell from distinct sectors: Spanish, English/American, Dutch. But when they play Bob Marley, everyone joins in. Waitresses dodge through the couples, lively steps keeping time with the music, heads nodding. And everywhere are dancing eyes. 

Tiredness creeps in - we're usually in bed a couple of hours after dark and we move away from the pool of light and sound. Finding our dinghy, pushing the other ones out of the way, we untie the painter and with a pull the outboard's alive and we're off across the bay. 

I love it. 

Feeling a little tipsy from the wine, the good conversation, the music still in my body from dancing. The wind's dropped and the full moon sparkles on every ripple as we go, clouds edged in silver. The green trail of phosphorescence spreads behind us and out from our bow. We pick out our anchor light from amongst the others and the stars and slow down as we get closer, salt spray slapping up as we come alongside.  All's quiet and dark. Conversation drifts over the water from a nearby boat; there's three dinghies tied behind it so friends are still visiting. 

But we're back home on our boat with a welcoming bunk below.