It all started on Saturday afternoon as I was sitting along the seafront watching a group of Tahitian dancers (think Hawai’ian) rehearse for a show, when out of nowhere, an old Creole couple walked past me in full cowboy attire. We’re talking the boots, the hats, the leather, the real deal. Creole cowboy and creole cowgirl, strolling the boardwalk. Later that night it all made sense.
Apparently, there is a thriving American country music dance scene on Reunion. Who would have guessed? And, Saturday night was their big event, gathering what seemed like several dozen authentically dressed cowboys and cowgirls from around the island to dosido and holler “yeehaw!” on the Saint-Pierre beach. Stumbling across this spectacle with two other American assistants, we were like bees to honey, but honey in a place none of us in our right minds would have ever expected to find it. Songs like Cotton Eye Joe, God Bless Texas, and Mountain Mama cast some kind of patriotic spell on us that we couldn’t break even we tried. Our red, white, and blue came out pretty strong. There was just something overwhelmingly illogical about the whole thing that was too good to be true.
Here’s a toast to America (with the Reunionese cola “COT American” no less).