28 July 2007

We're all just people who like to groove ...


[7/28/07 MAHAJANGA, MADAGASCAR --- Dear Cindy, People are so similar all over the world. It is insane and awesome. Last night, on the other side of the world from you, I found a parallel universe version of Cookie’s Bar, in a port town in northwest Madagascar. This bar, which doesn’t have a formal name, was the only light on a dusty street just a few feet from an old Arab harbor on the calm Mozambique Channel. The bar is just a corrugated tin tent, basically, with fisher’s nets strung up on the ceiling. A single light bulb swings over the bar counter. It’s a karaoke joint, but without the television monitor that you have. All of the song lyrics – if you need them – are inside a yellowing graph paper book. Most of the songs were in Malagasy, so I didn’t understand them. I did jump in when someone started singing “Walk of Life,” by the Dire Straits. I swear this place couldn’t get any more random. The whole scene – old men wailing off-key, groups of friends huddling around the microphone – reminded me so much of good friends and good laughs back on 22nd Street in Oklahoma City. Normally, when I walk around the streets of this country, people look at me like a complete stranger. I don’t speak their language. I look different. But somehow music brought me together with the Malagasy last night. We didn’t need a common language. Only a few songs and a little bit of silliness to break down the barriers. See you in December. –John Sutter]

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