Friday, 30 September 2011

The best Zumba instructor on the island

You know what, my bicycle excursions finally paid off. One day in August, I left a promotional DVD at the reception of the Oasis Papagayo hotel. The very same evening I received an email... To cut the long story short: I did my first Zumba lesson today by the poolside of the very hotel. I do not know yet if this was one-off event, or the one to become the regular gig. But, in a small way, the history was made today. Or so I’d like to think.

I know, I know, four o’clock is not an ideal time for a Zumba lesson. But this was only slot available this week. And look, it is still September, so I did a Zumba lesson this month! (As promised to myself.) Plus, I had a chance to test my Block Rocker outdoors.

In company of the hotel’s aqua fitness instructor, I did a little tour around the swimming pool. She did introduce me to the sunbathing hotel guests as “the best Zumba dancer in Corralejo”. Flattering, but true. “The best Zumba instructor on Fuerteventura” is also true. (As would be “the worst Zumba instructor on Fuerteventura”. Being the only Zumba instructor on the island means all these things.) We started with seven people attending! Well, half an hour later we lost four of them (back to their sunloungers I suppose) but three stayed till the end. Of the programme, they liked Dança Da Mãozinha, Tunak Tunak Tun and El Baile del Gorila the best.

Those of my readers who were lucky enough to attend Luisa’s Zumba classes in and around Saffron Walden would notice her influence — just have a look at my song list. I know I screwed (badly) couple of the songs but there was nobody present to tell that.

Song List

  1. Anatomic — Warm-Up — by Afro Celt Sound System
  2. Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien — Merengue
  3. Con Moviemento — Bachata / Reggaeton
  4. Aguanile — Salsa
  5. Dança Da Mãozinha — Axé
  6. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  7. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  8. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  9. Toul Omry — Salsa / Bellydance
  10. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  11. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  12. Culiquitaca — Merengue — by Toño Rosario
  13. Quiero Saber — Cool-Down — by Gypsy Kings

Thursday, 22 September 2011

MegaMix 25

Once in a while I allow myself to ask a rhetoric question. Here’s one: How come that Zumba Fitness LLC which cares so much about protecting its own brand cares so little about acknowledging the music it uses?

For instance: ZIN CDs and DVDs come without proper sleeves which means that the only place where the song details can be printed are the discs themselves. I don’t know whether it is an oversight or a clever trick; in any case we are provided with as little details as possible. Needless to say (but I was going to say it anyway), it is also rather inconvenient for the user.

Take the latest ZIN MegaMix. Of 14 (fourteen) tracks, only two (Zoomer and Masha Dia) explicitly acknowledge the artists. The rest are either “covers” (indicated by an asterisk *) or “Zumba Fitness originals” (indicated by a diamond ◊). There is nothing wrong with covers, but still I’d love to know both the authors and performers. As for the “originals”... well, there is no such musician or composer called Zumba Fitness, is there? (I will come back to this in my future posts, I promise.)

Now for the music itself. I quite liked the opening track Hola My Friend (but what on earth is “Pacific Rhythm”? I would say it is Caribbean) and cumbia La Cachucha Bacana. The closing Baila Me is not bad but I prefer the Gipsy Kings original. Meniando La Cola (surely it must be spelled Meneando La Cola) is truly great salsa song, unfortunately ruined here beyond repair by annoying “Zumba Fitness” watermarking. Luckily, the uncontaminated versions of this song are available elsewhere — such as this one by Sexappeal.

All in all, MegaMix 25 is not worse and not better than most of ZIN MegaMixes: two or three decent songs, couple of really awful ones and the forgettable rest.

Song List

  1. Hola My Friend — Pacific Rhythm ◊
  2. Zoomer — African Dance — by Les Jumo
  3. Desert Groove — Bellydance ◊
  4. Masha Dia — Ragga Caribbean — by K-Liber4Life
  5. Vem Vem — Brazilian Funk ◊
  6. Meniando La Cola — Salsa *
  7. La Cachucha Bacana — Cumbia Calypso *
  8. Knock On Wood — Pop / Dance *
  9. El Batazo — Reggaeton ◊
  10. Tao Tao — Quebradita *
  11. Gazab — Hindu Beat *
  12. Shawty Got Moves — Hip-Hop *
  13. 96,000 — Broadway *
  14. Baila Me — Rumba Flamenca *

Monday, 19 September 2011

Preposterous Spaces

I did not post anything here for a goodish while. The reason will be clear in a minute. But first, let me tell you a short story of my alternative (to Blogger) blogging.

In 2009, I joined InstantSpot only to see it dying a slow death within a year or so. I was never able to retrieve my posts. (Maybe it’s to the best.)

In 2010, I created a blog called just some words at Maneno; earlier this year, Maneno stopped hosting blogs and so I had to relocate to WordPress.

See the pattern emerging? Moving on: last month, I started this blog. I did a bit of research and chose Posterous as a no-nonsense blogging platform with great reputation. In September, without warning, Posterous reinvented itself as “Woo-hoo!” Posterous Spaces. One can see from the barrage of comments to their latest blog post (12 September 2011) that the users were not entirely happy.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Too bad Posterous people did just the opposite: wrecked the working system and now are busy rolling out “the first of a series of fixes”. Now we have the most ridiculous user interface which does not even have a “manage” button. I am telling you, if I saw this UI in August, I would never start blogging here.

I am not ready to walk away yet — why, I just got 250 business cards with this blog’s URL! Besides, this post was published OK, wasn’t it? Let’s see how it goes for a few more weeks. In the meantime, I backed up my posts and pages in case I have to relaunch this blog elsewhere.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

ION Block Rocker

Hooray, my new sound system has arrived! I went to collect it from the Correos today. I thought I managed to buy it for reasonably good price from Amazon UK — VAT-free and free delivery, because it was qualified for a free delivery in the UK... wait, that couldn’t be true? Maybe it ain’t. At the post office, they charged me €20 (twenty euro) before handing it over.

Still, I am a happy bunny now. Block Rocker comes with a microphone “to make announcements or sing” (nice try) but the 3.5 mm headphone jack to RCA adapter was not included. That is the only essential thing I really need, to connect it to my MP3 player. (Not iPod. I don’t have iPod. Block Rocker is advertised as a “Battery Powered Speaker System for iPod” but in truth you can plug in anything, provided that you have the right cable.) So I did cycle to the town in the afternoon to get the adapter. Check! Apparently, the batteries allow the system to blast at the full volume for 12 hours. We’ll see about that. I did not listen to “the full volume” properly yet. It’s getting too loud for our kitchen but maybe won’t be that loud for my, er, Zumba class when the time comes.

No more excuses: let’s rock!

ION Block Rocker Battery Powered Speaker System for iPod

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Zumba Fuerteventura on Facebook

People spend too much time on Facebook, don’t you think? Oh well, let them do that. After some hesitation, I decided to create a Facebook page, with exactly the same purpose as this blog. So... if you like this, please click on “like” button! Thank you.