what kinds of social dancing are prac-
JL} ticed in Mexico and other nations in the Americas these
I've been in rural cantinas in many Latin-American countries. My recollection, not perfectly clear, is that most of the dancing consisted of Polkas and Waltzes done to what I call musica campesina, the Latin-American equivalent of
|what I call cowboy music.
Come to think of it, the same was true in a small town in
Yugoslavia (Titovo, I think, maybe Tito Veles) where I was taken to the dining room of the town's major hotel where, after dinner, a band played for dancing. Polkas and Waltzes.
That, by the way, is an interesting story. If you're interested, please ask for a copy.
|From: The News Guy(Mike)
Subject: Re: Yugoslavia Date: 1999/04/09
Nice post Icono.
Subject: Re: Yugoslavia Date: 1999/04/09
Very nice..........you must write for a living. Are you a reporter? Felt like I was there. Thanks..........
MMMMMMA young boy, perhaps 12, was hitch-hiking and I stopped. Seeing my Gibraltar plates, he made a bunch of sounds and gestures making a great effort to tell me something. I finally figured out that one of the words was Hammarskjöld, the primary gesture was a 'plane going into the ground, and another word was "Kaput!" When I declared my shock and understanding, he got on and we went off.
MMMMMMEn route, we stopped at a truck stop for dinner. Believing we had no common language, we had not spoken but, when the waiter tried German on me, the kid spoke to me in that hateful language. Having just spent more than two months with those vile people, I was able to get along, perhaps as well as a third-grader, in that language. Our German was about equal and quite satisfactory to communicate.
MMMMMMWhile at the truck stop, in came a middle-aged, house trailer-hauling couple of U.S. citizens. They were loud of dress and louder of mouth in this very large and crowded restaurant. They asked a few questions, each time louder than the last, and con- cluded that everyone there was stupid and stomped out in a frustrated huff.
MMMMMMDuring those appalling and embarrassing moments, the waiter looked at me from across the room. Seeing that I was slouched as low as I could get, trying to hide, he understood. And the kid understood that, were he to say anything, I'd kill him.
MMMMMMIt was well after dark by the time we got to his turn-off. Determining it wasn't far, I took him to his rural home. On arrival, he told me to wait and went running excitedly into the house.
MMMMMZ"MaMO! MaMO! AmerikanoSI! AmerikanoSI!" Mamó came to look and invited me in.
MMMMMMThe three of us gathered around the table and, guess what?, a small glass with a clear liquid was put in front of me. She pointed, said, "Slivovitsa," and indicated that I should drink, which I did.
MMMMMMThen she produced some bread (that I later surmised she had made herself) and a can of something, with a brown paper label, that I couldn't identify. She and the boy spread some on their pieces of bread indicating that it was a great treat. I followed suit and, after tasting it, still didn't know what it was and asked to see the container.
MMMMMMNow, my total time in Yugoslavia can be counted in hours. And I read on this can, "A Gift from the People of the United States of America," see a US shield with a hands-across-the-sea symbol, "Not For Sale," and the identifying word "Lard" (it was brown and looked like honey that had been sitting around for a few years).
MMMMMMMamó insisted that I stay the night, which I did, in a large room with a very comfortable bed. The several shots of sliv- ovitz assured a good night's sleep. When Mamó came in to awaken me, slivovitz in hand, the motorcycle was in the room. I know I didn't put it there.
MMMMMMShe fed me and sent me on my way.
MMMMMMWhat a wonderful first act!!
WHEN I ARRIVED in Zagreb, it was full of foreign business men for an infrequent, and immense, trade show. Visiting it, I saw a bot- tling line from the U.S. (and a hover craft), huge industrial machines from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, and many other places.
MMMMMMAlmost immediately that I arrived in town (before I knew about the show) a school teacher and I got to talking. Now, I knew there was a black market for currency in Yugoslavia, but I had no idea how to find it. It found me in the form of this nervous and agitated man.
MMMMMMI had a DM100 bill that, at that time, was worth U$25 or 15,000 dinars at the bank. He agreed to buy the note for 22,000 dinars. The next problem was finding the money.
MMMMMMWe drove all over town visiting the homes of fellow teachers, family, friends, students, and who knows who. Some places he got nothing. Other places the sugar bowl was emptied. Others, money came out of pockets.
MMMMMMEverywhere, Tito's picture was in evidence.
MMMMMMThose 22,000 dinars were almost (almost!) all the money I needed for the three weeks I spent in that country.
BEFORE I GOT TO Belgrade (and the Cyrillic alphabet), the motorcycle started acting up. I went to a mechanic who spent three hours trying to fix the problem. He couldn't figure it out. When I asked "how much?" he waved me off with a warm smile and shrug of the shoulders saying that, because he didn't do anything for me, I wasn't obligated to do anything for him! He insultedly refused my insistence that he take some of my money.
I COMMITTED SOME kind of traffic violation. A furious policeman sent me to the curb and demanded to see my license. He unfolded the international license and examined the side without the picture, quite thoroughly, for a very long time. It was up-side down. With lots of arm waving, he scolded me and sent me on my way without a citation. But how could he write one, anyway? I'm sure he was illiterate.
THE ROAD FROM the border to Belgrade was a brand new, very fine, pink-tinted, quite wide two lanes. South of Belgrade, it was under construction.
MMMMMMI drove through deep mud, laughing ('though miserable) with the construction workers I passed. When it wasn't muddy, it was deep, dry, dust and I covered my nose and mouth in the fashion of a Western bandit.
MMMMMMAfter days of such conditions, I was thrilled to find a finished portion of the road and got up to an exhilarating (after days of creeping) 50mph. After rounding a gentle curve, the pavement dropped off into deep gravel without any warning whatsoever. No hot-shot rider I, I backed off the throttle and kept telling myself "Don't touch the brakes! Don't touch the brakes! Don't touch the brakes!"
SOMEWHERE NORTH OF SKOPJE, the headlight's bulb stopped working. I tried to replace it but couldn't find one.
MMMMMMThat night, hoping to get to Skopje, I was riding the bumper of a car out in the middle of nowhere when a motorcycle cop found me. Uh-oh!
MMMMMMHe was angry. "You stupid idiot! What the hell are you doing on the road at night without a headlight. Hilyarga dinara!" he demanded, with his palm out-stretched. "Hilyarga dinara!" Obviously having no choice, I sheepishly handed him 1,000 dinars. He detached a receipt from an official looking coupon booklet and handed it to me.
MMMMMMHe then demanded my passport and keys. What?!? Yes! The passport and keys. He took them and disappeared leaving me baffled, in shock and fear, standing helpless at the side of the moonless road.
MMMMMMAfter a while he returned, gave me the keys and told me to follow him. He explained that the owners of the land where we had stopped had given permission for me to spend the night there. Promising to return in the morning, he rode off into the night. I could see nothing, so lay down on the ground and slept well, completely undisturbed by animals or insects.
MMMMMMA man awakened me shortly after sunrise and asked me to follow him. I could then see a large farm house not far away. Near it were a few people gathered to start their day. A woman had a pot in her hand and indicated that I should hold my hands under it. It contained hot water with which to wash.
MMMMMMThey gave me tomatoes, boiled potatoes, coffee, and bread (bread! hot, freshly-baked, right out of the oven! Superb!). And the cop came along, all smiles and, with much shaking of hands thanked everyone. After admonishing me once again, and assuring me that I could get a bulb in Skopje, he returned the passport and keys.
MMMMMMThe woman insisted that I take some bread and potatoes for lunch. But the bread was stale, rock hard, before noon.
I SHOULD MAKE clear that these conversations were not as stated. They were accomplished with lots of pantomime, many ges- tures, and a few words of whatever language some words were known.
BEFORE GETTING TO SKOPJE, I learned that by using the brake pedal to keep the tail light illuminated, the bike went ran quite well. But I still wanted to get it fixed so that I could eventually sell it. I found a bulb there.
MMMMMMI apparently mis-read a road sign to go to Titov Veles and found myself in a small town called Titovo where, being a foreigner, I was quite an attraction.
Some young men took me to a blacksmith (I mean a blacksmith with hand-pumped leather bellows, horse shoes, huge anvil and biceps to match, well-worn leather apron — everything but the chestnut tree) who, I was told, could fix the bike.
MMMMMMI explained the problem and he told me to go away to return later. But, before I'd gone far (with my several compan- ions), I saw him rip off the seat. I went running back, screaming, "What the hell are you doing?" Looking smug, he pointed. There was the coil, in two pieces, obviously the source of the problem. "Now will you go away and come back later?" Tail between my legs, away I went.
WHEN I RETURNED, the machine had been fixed, washed and was gleaming in the late afternoon sun. "How much?" I asked. "How much do you have?" he asked. Gulp. He wasn't smiling and he wasn't kidding. I pulled out my wallet knowing that I had just about enough for the night and to get to Greece without buying any more dinars; not much in dollars, but a good number of dinars. I don't remember how many there were, but he took them all.
MMMMMZ"Hey!" I protested. "I need a place to stay, I haven't had dinner, and I don't have enough gas to get to Greece." "Don't worry about it." Was that anger in his voice? "Do you have any dollars?" "No." "Bullshit! How many dollars do you have?" I knew I had a well-hidden five but found three ones. He took them. I was furious. But this was one very big, very strong, far-from-stupid, dude. Although surrounded by several of my companions, they were far more likely to be his friends than mine.
MMMMMZ"Meet me at the hotel at seven o'clock." I was there early and he showed up (almost unrecognizably clean and neatly dressed in a suit), followed by virtually everyone with whom I'd had contact that day. He was smiling and glad-handed. He put his arm around me and led me into the hotel where we were warmly greeted by the head waiter who seated us around a huge round table that, it seemed, the blacksmith had reserved. We might have numbered ten.
MMMMMMThe slivovitz, along with a more than satisfactory meal, was quite nicely served. Then came the entertainment, the equiv- alent of our nasal, twangy hic music that went on into the night. A good dancer, I was disappointed that there were no women to ask.
MMMMMMWhen they had to leave, I was taken upstairs to a room for the night. Only when receiving the last instruction from the blacksmith — to stop at the gas station at the edge of town on my way to Titov Veles — did I even begin to suspect what was going on. When the desk clerk waved me off when I tried to pay (with the $5 bill) for the room, my suspicion was confirmed.
MMMMMMThe gas station attendant, who had been one of the dinner companions, greeted me, filled the tank, returned the three dollars and a few dinars, and wished me a bon voyage.
MMMMMMWhat a wonderful last act!
Note: The first draft of the above was probably written, from notes, prior to 1970.
From: Sava (sava@*.com) Date: 1999/04/09
Stu Dudley, San Mateo (email@example.com) wrote:
> Icono Clast <IClast@jps.net> wrote:
> > EXPERIENCES in YUGOSLAVIA
> What a wonderful adventure! What year did you make this trip ? It must really sadden you to know what
> some of the people you met on your trek, are going through today.
> Got any more "experiences" that you would like to share with the NG ?
Must have been more than 8 years ago. Yugoslavia hasn't had a border with Austria since 1991. I've read a number of stories recently of people who crossed the border from Austria or Italy into Yugoslavia and their wonderful memories. They associate that with Yugoslavs of today, due to world events. Of course, they had started their journey in what is now Slovenia. (And if you liked Slovenia then, you'll love it now. Free of Serb domination, the economy has flourished.)
From: Peter Renzland, Swing, Joy, and Lindy Hop (Peter.Renzland@*])
Sava <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>Stu Dudley, San Mateo, wrote:
>> Icono Clast <IClast@jps.net> wrote:
>> > EXPERIENCES in YUGOSLAVIA
>Must have been more than 8 years ago. Yugoslavia hasn't had a border ...
He said 1961! Why ask? Why speculate? Why guess? Why not just read?
Huh? Did I really say that? Sorry, I forget where I was :-)
Oh, Mr. Clast, how about posting your trip report on Germany? I'd like to read more about "those vile people". :-}[Mr. Renzland is a German dancing, and living, in Toronto—IC]NNNNNNNNN
Shawn Riggins (rigginss@*.edu) Newsgroups: Rec.Arts.Dance 1999/04/09
Interesting, but totaly off topic.
> Kenneth Wetzel wrote:
> > Kosovo will do nothing more then take it's toll also.
Icono Clast said:
> What's happening in Yugoslavia is not comparable with what happened in Viet-Nam. Viet-Nam was a true civil war
> having to do with politics and economics, not terribly different from the civil war in the USA. What's happening in
> Yugoslavia has to do with ethnicity and ancestry.
> > I can't figure out why the Refugees don't get Stark Raving Mad. They have been Insulted, beaten, ridiculed
> > & driven from their Homes.
> Ask the Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies, and communists you know who survived the Holocaust. Why did they passively go
> to the rail cars? Their answer will be something like "We couldn't believe it was actually happening" and the same answer
> is likely to be given today by today's victims.
> > I have a Friend Who was in Berlin during World War Two. She told Me that everyone knew what was
> > going on
> Anyone able to read during that time who denies knowing what was happening is either an idiot or a liar. I challenge you
> to go to your local library and whiz through the newspapers of the mid- to-late '30s without seeing virtually daily reports
> of what the Germans were doing to their fellow citizens and, eventually, neighbors.
> > What has Kosovo got to do with Dancing? Nothing, if You can manage to ignore it.
> I am profoundly disturbed by the images in today's newspapers and on the television set. These are the same people
> we've seen so many times this Century: Europe in the late 'teens and the '40s, India/Pakistan in the '50s, Viet-Nam in the
> '60s, Cambodia in the '70s, Ethiopia/Eritrea in the '80s, Europe and Africa in the '90s and, throughout, images of people
> starving not just in the Germans' Death Camps but also on the streets of India, China, and throughout Africa. Try to
> imagine how you would feel if you had everything you have today yesterday but today have nothing, literally nothing; no
> property, no possessions, no home, no money, no identification. It hurts me to think about it but I'm not Scarlet O'Hara.
> I've attached my Adventures in Yugoslavia. I don't expect you to read that report.