‘to Dance salsa in Colombia’ was from the beginning on my travel goals for this trip. On contrary to my Asian backpack equipment I packed two more pair of shoes. For salsa and tango. The second pair is waiting for Argentina.
So when I finally reached Cali, the world capital of salsa, I unpacked straight ahead the salsa shoes and went to look for good parquet.
Though the first club I joined felt like Cuba (no, I have never been there but this is how I imagine myself Cuba with all people dancing even when seating) there was nobody, absolutely nobody asking me for a dance. A bit disappointed (well, ‘a bit’ is a soft description of a frustration that I was feeling actually) I went outside to complain to bodyguards and asking for explanaitions. What’s going on with Calenos, huh? The explanaition turn out to be very easy. I came here without my friends so I have nobody to dance with. Nothing less and nothing more. And this was the only moment when I felt socially excluded in Colombia. I got an advice that I should make some friends and came back tomorrow getting by the way 3 phone numbers. I found it a buit useless cause my new ‘friends’ were supposed to guard the outside entrance also on the following evening. And for me the interior was much more interesting.
I took my frustration to the arepas stand where I got some friends already on the way to the club and drinking lugo juice I told them my complaints. The boys took it seriously. First of all that I am walking around alone that late in the night. Secondly that I could possibly leave Cali without having danced salsa. That was unacceptable!
After short discussion among them (while I was sipping out the rest of the lugo juice, trying very hard to keep good manners and not putting my finger into the glas to get it sorted till the last drop) one of the boys, Diego, took me to the club two blocks further. The club was, as it turned out, a place where professional dancers went out. The hour was pretty late so not a lot people left in the club. This resulted in much attention to my ‘exotic’ salsa-humbleness and I got a private lesson making me entirely happy as I was dancing with the best dancers in Cali. It was a tough lesson as salsa caleno is probably the fastest in the world but making me entirely happy.
And I got also ‘friends’ for the next salsa evening.
What started as a crappy evening turned out to be THE evening, as I got more than imagined. Lesson learned (or rather repeated) – before giving up rather look for other solution. Can be closer and better than you think.