The band departed for Curaçao early Friday morning, and spent the entire day in the air. We arrived at the hotel Friday night, greeted warmly by the staff with bottles of cool water. We all settled in and broke into our groups: everyone wanting to take advantage of the variety of musical performances of the night. Judith, Jesus and I headed to the venue to watch Earth, Wind and Fire. What a show! I sang along with the hits and built up a good sweat as I danced. After their show, we headed back stage to meet the stars, all of whom were gracious and kind. The next performer was Sting. He was walking around backstage, but as I never want to disrupt artists before they perform, I didn’t bother him. We all headed out to watch his show, and again I sang along and danced my heart out. After the show, I headed back to the hotel and went to bed.
|Philip Bailey and me|
|Sting and Philip Bailey|
|Judith Hill, me and Ralph Johnson|
|Me and Verdine White|
|Me and Branford Marsalis|
After the photo, I sat next to him and casually moved into a conversation after having introduced myself, and reminding him that I’d played for him once before (Madison Square Garden in 2009 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert). He was very cool, and easy to talk to. I was thrilled to be having a conversation with one of my musical heroes!
Sting left and we all soon boarded the bus for the venue. After sound check, I returned to the hotel and took a nap, got dressed and then back to the venue for dinner. As I stood in line, I noticed a tall man whom I immediately recognized as Chucho Valdes. Wow! I asked Jesus to take a photo and then turned my attention to dinner.
|Me and Chucho Valdes|
|Photos from the show|
|Me, Judith, Lanesha, Aisha|
The next day, I slept until 1:30pm! I didn't have a real plan for the day, but I never worry about such things, given my close relationship with Serendipity (check out my Greek blog for more on that!). I did some yoga, took a shower, ate an apple and an energy bar and headed downstairs with the intention of going for a walk around the hotel grounds. Upon exiting the elevator, I ran into Fausto and he invited me to come along to a birthday party where I could swim. Perfect timing! I ran back up to my room, threw on my bikini under my workout clothes and zipped into the car with a couple of band members. We drove for about 30 minutes towards a beach - which one? I have no idea! We stopped along the way for a snack. I ate a tuna empanada and a bottle of ice-cold water. Unfortunately, that was just about all of the water I had for the day. Bad decision that I paid for later.
We arrived at the party, and immediately were met with warm smiles, music, dancing and delicious food. It was a party for local bass player, Ernesto Paz, and many of the guests were musicians. Drums and drummers were most highly represented – divine! After about an hour of listening, singing and dancing, some folks started heading into the water. Cue the scary strings and chromatic diminished chords! Let me explain: the house was on a cliff, and the only way into the water was to either jump from an elevated ledge, or to climb down a ladder. Not exactly the kind of swimming I'd envisioned!
I've never been a good swimmer, and I do realize that it's completely in my mind - some kind of mental block that I'm now determined to overcome - so I was apprehensive about getting into the very deep water. But Errol and Fausto and several other people were having such a great time...and it was painfully hot in the sunshine...and I was wearing my bikini...and it did look fun...so I went for it! Oh no! I didn't jump! I climbed down the ladder, step by careful step, and splash! I joined the party – wearing my little floaty toy around my bikini. Since I didn’t have to work as hard as everyone else, I stayed in the water a long, long time. It was heavenly.
|Ernesto and the ladies!|
|Tamara Nivillac and me|
|The diving platform|
|Me and Taco van Dijk|
|Amazingly clear water|
Jumping into the water!
|Climbing into the water!|
|Here I am in the water! I did it!|
|Sunset ... wow!|
|Me and Maruja Bogaard|
Thankfully, I’m a long time practitioner of yoga and know how to focus my breathing to eliminate stress. I close my eyes and started regulating my breathing, thinking that a relaxed flow of oxygen could only help. It did. It took about 5 minutes, but my vision finally starting normalizing and I was able to get up and walk to the back of the airplane and tell the flight attendants. One of the women looked at me and immediately asked if I’d eaten anything. I said no. She swiftly sat me down and calmly served me cup after cup of orange juice, and insisted that I eat 2 boxes of raisins, a bunch of crackers and some cheese. She said that I was showing clear signs of low blood sugar. Apparently, by staying in the water, exposing my head to the intense sun (which I was blissfully unaware of since the water was cool), and not drinking enough water and skipping breakfast and lunch, I’d set myself up for both dehydration and low blood sugar. Not a fun combination. I do not recommend it! I didn’t feel totally normal again for at least 5 hours. Lesson learned. Ah, Curaçao…