Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jamaica Part 6 - Halloween

It's wet..........very wet. The clouds have come in. Okay.......it's the tropics.......one should expect a bit of rain here and there...........but Tropical Storm Noel isn't very far away and it is frustrating.......it is taking what seems to be an eternity for this storm to get the heck out of here.

Tropical Storm Noel is almost a hurricane now and it seems to have stalled a while over the eastern portion of Cuba. While sitting there, Noel has dumped a barrage of rain and high winds......punishing Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Me?..........I am sitting on the very western point of the island of Jamaica......in Negril. To our northeast sits Noel.........yes.......a "dark cloud" has been lurking...........I have to admit that it is a bit to worry about, but I have been through this kind of thing before.

That's Noel....swirling right over eastern Cuba........as you can see.....the clouds cover a huge area.........this is not a tightly knit storm at all and it has far reaching effects. The worst is always in the northeast quadrant of these storms. Jamaica happens to be in the southwestern to southern quadrant. This is a good thing........however..........as you can see......the entire area is congested with activity. For us...........it's just squalls of rain and lots of cloudbursts.........very cloudy and the sun only occasionally bursts through it all. It appears that mornings are the best shot for some sun with the remainder of the day a bit of hit or miss.
This is not gonna stop any of us from enjoying ourselves.
It was Halloween......and a Halloween party was in order. Supernurse had brought our costumes with us on the trip. She was Tinkerbell and I was a pirate..........hehehe.......pirate in the Caribbean......hehehe. The party was held at the pool bar and the entire Chesapeake Medical Staffing group was there.................oh.......and did I mention the humidity?

Captain Morgan and Nurse Stickemoften strike a pose. They are husband and wife and great friends of ours. We travel together quite often.

They even got the bartenders in on the fun...........notice how happy? Chesapeake Medical Staffing had given all of us a "goodie bag" for the trip which included sunglasses that had flashing lights. As you can see...........the bartenders are wearing them too. One of them, when asked what he would do with the glasses after that night, said "I am saving them for Christmas"..........I don't quite know what that means.........maybe he wants to wear them again then....or maybe he intends to give them as a gift.......who knows?

There was a steel drum band..........guess what their name was?........."Steel Drum Band"
They were very good and you could see that they were very serious about their music. It was amazing how they were able to play just about any kind of music with those steel drums....they even did the Mission Impossible theme.....imagine that!

The drummer was very animated and very into his craft........the bass player........well.....more on that later.

This party was just getting started.

Now we're talkin'............look at all of those nurses! Supernurse is in that bunch somewhere.....hehehe.

Anyway..........as it happens.......when a man drinks Red Stripe at a Halloween party, that man will also find himself having to go take a leak at the nearby necessary facilities..........as it happens.........while in those facilities, I bumped into the "Steel Drum Band" members who were on a break. They seemed to be having some sort of discussion/disagreement amongst them. As it happens.....I interrupted that. I said to them..."Hey, you guys sound great." The drummer looked at me, smiled really big and asked me if I played drums.......I, of course, said "No."
That is where one would ordinarily stop the conversation and move on..........but there was a Red Stripe influence about me that this little pit stop could not remove.............so I also said "I can play guitar and a little bit of bass". The drummer's eyes lit up........uh oh..........he asked my name......I told him my name and he said "I am gonna call you up"........so.......after that........I said "okay".........and it did not register immediately what I agreed to. I walked out of the restroom and went back to the bar and told the wife what had just taken place. I said "They are gonna call me up". Uh oh........better get me another Red Stripe........hehehehe.
As it happens............the band didn't wait very long after their break......they cut to the chase and ..........as it happens..........called me up. Oh shit.....what have I gotten myself into now?

I had no clue what I was doing...........they hand me the bass.........."Hey, I play by ear"..........and so I test out the bass by playing a little bit of Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream. The drummer got a huge grin on his face.....he was very happy.......and he said "okay....let's play". I tell them to just play and I will follow along. I had no idea of what they wanted to play. Well......they started playing a song.....as far as I can remember....which was a typical steel drum kind of song.......and I just followed along by ear. The steel drummer with the huge scarf over his dreadlocks kept leaning back towards me uttering "Am.........D.........Dm"....etc. The traditional drummer would keep telling him that "he plays by ear".............anyway.........we got through the entire song.

The drummer was elated and looks at me and says "One more"..........oh well.....here we go again.

They want to play Unchained Melody............hey....I am familiar what that one! So they start playing and while I am following along.....I notice that their bass player doesn't look too happy and he is staring at me.

Oh well..........I kept on playing...........and to my surprise....it wasn't all that bad. The band seemed to be getting into it.

I knew that Supernurse was taking pictures of this. The band kept playing......and I kept my eyes mostly on the drummer.........he would show alot of emotion when he played and he would nod in acknowledgement of what I was doing. I tried to focus on him.

But the bass player kept staring at me.......and he was standing right next to me as I played. It was just a little unnerving.

And he kept staring and looming. I figured he wasn't very happy.

So I gotta look the other way now.........he is still standing right there.....watching.......and a bit disgusted.

Okay.........the second song is over...........can I go now?.............the drummer says "One more!"
Oh geesh..........here we go again......what are we gonna play this time?

As it happens........they start playing "Can't Help Falling In Love"........an Elvis song! Okay then......I am a bit familiar with that one too...........alrighty then. But look over my right shoulder and what do you see?............yep.........he is still looming there and staring at me. The rest of the band is smiling and happy........but not him.

I thought about the situation while playing.............hmmmm.......how can I diffuse a possible event here? Something else is going on here..........it's not just that I have stepped on this man's shoes.....there is surely a reason I was called "up".

I figured out what I would do..........finish the song.......thank them and shake the bass player's hand....pat him on the back.....tell him how good a bass player he is.......and tell him to "do his thing".........yep.......that'll take care of him. I surely am not good enough to show anyone up on a bass..........but I did follow along fairly well........at least the drunks at the party, with their limited capacities, would never have been able to be aware of the parts of songs where I messed up........and as it was......I finished the song. Wow.....it's one thing to get called "up" for a song......but THREE of them?.........me?.......you got to be kidding me........whew!.....did I mention how humid it was?
Anyway, take a look at the next picture.........it was the end of the song......and lo and behold!........there was ELVIS! ..........and I don't think that bass player ever saw him........hehehe.

It felt good. I had never done anything like that before. A personal victory for me........but back to the staring band member..............I followed my plan...........I thanked him for allowing me to use his bass and bearing with me........I patted him on the back.......I told him how great a bass player he is and how I wished I could play like he does. I even looked at the other members of the band and told them that the bass player is very good. And then I told him to "tear it up" and I walked away.
I thought about what had just happened. A friend told me that the bass player had been "falling asleep" on the job...............maybe he looked a bit "out of it" during the first set they played. That would explain their discussion in the restroom during the break. As it happens.........I walked into the middle of that discussion and.....as it happens......served myself "up" to prove a likely point to that bass player. I could imagine that the drummer had told him something like "we could get anyone to take your place tonight".........and as it happened.....they got lucky when I had to take a leak right then.
So there you have it.......Halloween in Jamaica.
Stay Tuned.
Next Up: Jamaica Part 7

2 comments:

  1. Signtopia Jr.4:36 PM

    I gotta say dad, this stuff is right out of a movie and endlessly entertaining to read. Oh and by the way, I might be starting a blog soon, so stay tuned for "Son of the End of the World!!!"

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  2. okay signtopia jr.,

    maybe one day you can make the movie........and gee.....I didn't know how "endlessly entertaining" the blog is for you to read. The big question is........is anyone ready for the "Son of the End of the World"?? Meanwhile......keep reading.......you have much more "entertainment" on the way.

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