on monday night, i needed to go to the market, and since i had no quick food to fix at home beforehand, i decided to eat dinner at a local restaurant. since i haven't had seafood on-island beyond my favorite tuna steak burger (at Sunset Bar & Grille, in Maho), i looked for shrimp on a few restaurant menus, and found the best-looking shrimp entree at Pineapple Pete's (a restaurant where i've already been a handful of times). oh well, so much for adventure. when i arrived, there was a guitarist on stage playing covers. the longer i sat, the more i was awed by his super-smooth playing style and his mastery of the loop pedal to create a very full sound. he seemed very personable, especially when he chuckled at me being the only one clapping after a particularly good song. i didn't have the guts to say anything to him in person, but saw a tip jar and decided to write a short compliment on the back of my business card, and leave my email address. i had no real expectations of him (these things have gone negatively for me, in the past), but i hoped he would respond and help me find the great music scene i knew was hidden somewhere on this island.
imagine my surprise when he actually responded just a half-day later. his email was kind, and he invited me to come back out that night and hear him with the full band. my employer asked me to first attend a school function with her and her son, then go out to dinner with them, and she mentioned Pete's as an option. it seemed like a great transition -- dinner with them, and drinks while listening to the band -- so i decided to drive separately. i didn't know, when i arrived, if i would have the nerve to actually approach him, but i figured at the very least i would enjoy some good music and good rum. i saw him arrive, set up, and head for the bar (which i had JUST left, to sit at a table near the front), and summoned my courage. since i'd first introduced myself via business card, i decided the best way to get his attention (he was on his iPad) was to go sit beside him at the bar and drop my business card in front of him. cutesy, but effective -- he picked it up, looked closely at it, then turned to me with a smile. thus, i received my very first double cheek-kiss greeting and met Amin.
overall, the night was really good for me. we had some casual conversation, and the band did some really fun and masterful covers. Amin had spent the hour leading up to their set trying to convince me to sing a song with them, but would never produce a set list for me to choose one. of course, when the pressure's on, i'm never able to think of any common songs to sing. i know thousands of songs, casually, but if i don't really know the lyrics and vocal pattern well, my slight stage fright will obliterate them from my memory. the only song i could think to propose was "Sunday Morning" (haha, Honey James Band members), which they didn't know. however, bets are on as to whether they'll learn it before next week. it turns out that i do know many of the songs in their repertoire, so who knows. maybe the courage it took for me to put myself out there and compliment/contact someone new will also enable me to hit the stage with a really great st maarten band before i leave this island. at the very least, i feel like i've made some new, talented acquaintances. thank goodness for guts, eh?