Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler - Winter 2011 travel blog

circle of beach chairs

the sacred greenery

bang away

tiny dancer

Mr. Ralph Lauren

admiring the drummers

parasail overhead

fresh flower

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drum circle

For our last night in Sarasota, it seemed apropos to head back to the beach at Siesta Key to attend the drum circle. This spontaneous event occurs every Sunday an hour before sunset. We could hear the drums as we parked the car and followed a few men carrying African looking drums to the circle of beach chairs that had already gathered. Some of the drummers were our age and looked as if they had smoked more than a few doobies along the way. Others were young with rastafarian dread locks. One very enthusiastic drummer looked like an accountant on vacation in his Ralph Lauren sweater. Everyone was welcome.

One woman brought an arm load of greenery which she carefully arranged in a small circle inside our circle of beach chairs. Then a man came and paced lines in the sand to it, marking the points on the compass. He seemed to be praying to the sun god, raising his hands high and doing karate leaps high into the air. Hula hoops were distributed, which brought the children into the circle, swiveling away with the beat of the drums. A woman circled the crowd handing out blossoms. It all felt rather new agey.

The dancers were as important as the drummers. One woman brought a variety of flowing props and moved with grace as the drums pounded. Another had sort of a belly dancer costume on. She was good at the hip movements, but the fact that her belly rivaled my own in girth, took away from the aesthetic pleasure she provided. These two ladies looked like regulars, but after a while the steady beat brought the civilians to their feet.

It was all rather peace, love and rock and roll. The drums paused every so often, then were off on another round, and the children ran around hopping and hula-ing.

The sun set. The drums stopped. It was time to go.

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