Thursday 28 January 2010

The energy that is Latin America

For a long time now, I don't remember how long, I have been fascinated with Latin America. It evokes many synonyms within my mindscape: images of Salsa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Caribbean islands, Romance languages and most fondest of all - La Bamba. I don't know how many of you have listened to the La Bamba. Its just an excuse to groove and move. One cannot just sit there listening to La Bamba. There have been many versions of the song and all of them are equally well-rendered. Of course I cannot find much difference except the few improvisations by the singers. Latin Americans can spot the differences, I presume.

In spite of not having visited Latin America, I feel quite at home thinking about the place. The whole place with its diverse cultural potpourri seem a collage of beautiful images. Have you ever felt that way without having visited a place. I feel that kinship with United Kingdom as well. Probably studying about England and the other places in and around UK in my literature books has given me a voyeuristic vision of those places.

Marquez is another image of Latin America. I have immensely enjoyed his One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Magic realism, dreams and a love that seems surreal is what Marquez offers to me and that can be associated with Latin America as well.

Many times there are certain images and flashes that colour the mind while thinking of a place. India for many is snakes and elephants while for me Latin America is Jennifer Lopez, Fidel Castro and Salsa. How are these images formed? Are they the projection of media, books or popular lore. For me it started out with individual aspects say, the flamboyant dances then people like Castro then La Bamba . . . Now linking all the different images, I call Latin America a collage of all the aforementioned things. But is that all that is Latin America?? I am afraid not. It is much more than that. For people living there, it might be something totally different as India is much more to me than snakes and elephants.

Whatever said and done, Latin America stands for energy, vitality, sexiness and a certain vibrancy to me. If you've been to Latin America, then tell me if my images describe the place succinctly or is it much more than that.


  1. Hello, I've been to both coasts of Mexico and to the island of Cuba. I came away with sadness because of the poverty I had seen. Especially in Cuba.

    They are wonderful countries, full of friendly, wonderful people. But poor.

  2. oh, dear susan - i've missed being over here more often - days of computer problems and then THE CRASH - and the distractions of the days otherwise - but here i am now, so that is good - yes, latin american invokes such warm and sensual and wonderfully vibrant images for most of us i think - however, indistinct knows that other side, as i do, too - one of my daughters married a colombian - and while the ambiance of that culture is all of those wonderful things we gringas see and think and feel - theirs is a country of poverty the likes of which we cannot imagine - but even amidst the poverty there is a sense of pride and happiness and hope among the people of the villages i know of - and a caring for others - even the gringas like me ;) - but i think the one thing i take away from that culture, the one i know from my son-in-law, is their purity and naivete' - beautiful spirits!!!

  3. Susan, your dreams of Latin America, your images, are beautiful. I have never visited any Latin American country... YET!!! That's what I always say. That is the one continent of the world I have yet to explore, and I do look forward to exploring that energy you talk about, which I, too, believe exists. I am a huge fan of Marquez, by the way, especially "One Hundred Years of Solitude". Needless to say, there is a culture that is vibrant and alive and just bursting to be explored, and I would so love to explore it.

    A lovely post, Susan! :-)


  4. I've never set food on Latin American soil, but all I know about it is its passion, in dance and speech. I love watching "So you think you can dance". My favourite is the Salsa. Passions reigned.

  5. Distinct:

    Yes even I have read about the poverty that is prevalent there. Probably that is one aspect of the many which gets drowned in the other popular images.


    Even I have missed your posts Jenean. Hope all is well now. Thanks for that personal account of L. America. Even in India poverty strikes your face when you stay beyond the 'tourist' days and get in tune with the way of life.

  6. Nevine:

    Seems like a long time. Yes it definitely is a culture of vibrancy and even I am looking forward to exploring it some day. Thanks for your lovely words, Nevine.


    Hmmm. Salsa has its way with dance-lovers (who can and cannot dance). You and I are one of the many out there.

    Thanks for coming by dear Gaia.

    Joy always.

  7. You are so right, our image about a country or about a continent forms from books, movies and media. Depending on what we get exposed to, we create a fascination for something, even though we know close to noting about the subject. I have only been in Brazil and it is evident that this continent is vibrant in quiet a different way than Europe is.;)
    Lovely post as always,

  8. Zuzana:

    Very true. Those images get stored and recreate something that might be very surreal than the real. But something from those images do exist in reality, I suppose. That is evident from you say about the vibrancy.

    I shall visit those places and then come and write all about that.

    Until then . . .

    Joy always.

  9. Thanks Susan for visitng my blog and sharing your insights.
    God bless.

  10. hi susan - just dropping by to say good morning [well, it's morning here ;) ] - and to see what's new and exciting at your place - also, just fyi, drop by my travel journal blog if you get a chance - i put something there in the wee hours of this morning that you might like - have a great day and weekend - we're having snow again!

  11. Traveling is not one of my past times. Still, dear one, thank you for sharing and thank you for your continuous support and encouragement you give to me. Blessings.

  12. JBR:

    Your 'realness' is reflected in your comment. I am glad that you find my support encouraging. Anytime.

    Joy and love always.

  13. I have never been to the South American countries but I know a few people who have.They say that despite the poverty,corruption,crime, the people are energy filled. They come back charged everytime they go there.

  14. Govind:

    Long time. Hmmmm. That's the energy I was speaking about.

    Joy always.

  15. i haven't been yet but i am going in a few weeks time. yay!

    can we do a retake of this conversation then?

    but yes, where do these images comes from?

    for me travelling has mostly dispelled the preconceived images and replaced it with something entirely different and always better. but travel needs to happen in a certain way for this to occur. one needs to blend enough to be drawn in, but yet remain distinct enought to notice the differences. its a very fine balance that takes deliberate effort on the part of the traveller.

    hoping that your week is filled with serendipity...

  16. Dear Claire:

    I am glad that you are visiting Latin America. God be with you.

    Yes, we should do a retake of this conversation. You should promise me that you will write from there.

    My week started great . . . I am expecting lovelier things.

    Hugs and joy to you always.

  17. thanks so much for dropping by my place, dear susan - and have a wonderful remainder of the week!

    oh, did you see my picasso over at the dream journal? gee, i'm just now seeing yours here - good minds think alike, don't they?
    peace and love -

  18. Dear Jenean:

    Of course I saw your Picasso and hmmm, great minds do think alike.

    Joy, courage and love always.

  19. The ONE thing about Latin America that has captivated my imagination is Machu Picchu. I don't know if I will ever get to see it in real but I imagine it is already a part of my persona.

  20. Pushkaraj:

    I have read a lot about that place. If everything is well, you will definitely get to see the place.

    Joy always.



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