The Rhythm is Going to Getcha

By: Lara Dustin Scriba


(4 min. read)

The music here in Mexico seems to be everpresent. Whether you’re waking up to the fisherman singing at five am, music blaring from produce trucks vying for your attention, or the club music starting at the local resort just as you’re tucking in for bed, music is coming from somewhere at all times.

What amazes me is not only how quickly you get used to it but that you often unconsciously find yourself humming or bouncing to the beat as you move about your day. It’s quite delightful 

One evening, over dinner, a few friends and I talked about how long it’s been since we’d been out dancing. “Too long” was emphatically exclaimed by all! So, we set out on a search for a family-friendly venue to enjoy an evening of music and dancing. It wasn’t long before we received a raving recommendation to go to “Botanero El Mirador” here in Manzanillo. My goodness, we had no idea what we were in for!

Choosing where we want to go is often the easiest part of our adventures. How we get there is another story unless it is easily accessible by foot or boat. Our venue, unfortunately, was up in the hills, but we lucked out; as a group of eight, we were able to score two taxis at once. One of the many benefits of anchoring near a resort is there is always quite a bit of traffic to and from town.

Miranda was our taxi driver, and to our surprise, she was also a 2nd-grade teacher who was excited to help us practice our Spanish along the way. Her eyes lit up, though, when we told her where we’d like to go, our first hint that we were in for a good time.

After driving through an industrial area and off onto a short dirt road, we arrived at an absolute diamond in the ruff. Music spilled out the windows, eagerly enticing us in. A party was happening, whether we were ready or not.

We quickly hopped out of the taxi, but not even Miranda could resist the pull of the music. We turned to find her parking the car and following us in. She would be staying for the festivities as well!

The place was not overly full, as it was still only six o’clock, but everyone seemed to be having a hell of a time. It took a moment to take it all in, the live singer belting out the tunes with all his might, people dancing between the tables, beaming smiles on EVERYONE’S faces.

As soon as we sat down, the food we hadn’t ordered started arriving rapidly. It was all a bit overwhelming, but the wide, knowing grin from the waitress ensured us that we’d figure it all out soon enough.

Food was free and freely given as long as we ordered drinks (lemonades counted!), and live karaoke was led by a professional singer who took encouraging the crowd on as a full-time job. A microphone was passed along the tables for anyone to join as a duet or take over a song completely. The louder and sillier, the better.

After about an hour, locals from the other tables began to come over to ask us to dance until we finally had a group of 15 or so people hysterically enjoying our Mexican version of “Soul Train” happening in the middle of the restaurant. Whooping and hollering ensued as one fantastical move debuted after another. No one was left out of this friendly dance-off. 

Even my kids couldn’t resist the fun, half-heartedly shaking their heads no, a huge grin spread on their faces as they were pulled up to dance by one woman or another. Finally submitting to their fate, they, too, danced the night away.

We had a fabulous evening, and our taxi driver even serenaded us with a song upon our departure, a memorable night of fun, laughter, and absolute joy was had by all.

Even though we struggle to improve our Spanish and conversations can often feel stilted, music is a universal language that brings people together. Our evening was a perfect reminder of how important it is to let your hair down, embrace new experiences, step off the well-beaten path, and connect with the beautiful people in your local community… one beat at a time. 

Years ago, I came across a quote by Gabrielle Roth, who wrote, “In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?”

Lara Scriba
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC
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